Summer is here, but that does not mean it is too late to look and feel great. This sunny season is also packed with fun holidays that might make it seem impossible to stay healthy, given all the barbequing and drinking that seems to go hand-in-hand with pool parties. This summer, make sure you stay on track as you work toward your health goals, so you can not only feel confident in a bikini now, but maintain that boost all year-round.
Below are some helpful and easy tips that will keep you on the right path toward your weight goals:
- Eat more fiber: It might seem counterintuitive to see the words “eat more” when you are trying to lose weight, but fiber-rich foods actually make you feel fuller and keep you regular. Incidentally, it is also found in foods that are rich in vitamins and powerful antioxidants that can potentially slow the aging process. While everyone’s dietary needs will vary based on factors like height, weight, and activity level, it is generally advisable to aim for anywhere from 25 grams to 35 grams per day. Not sure how to incorporate fiber into your diet? Try veggies like spinach and radishes or legumes and beans. A wide variety of berries also pack a solid amount of fiber.
- Power up with protein: Having protein with all meals and snacks is a great tip for those trying to burn fat and maintain lean muscle. Try to eat fish a least twice a week. This protein-packed meal will also deliver important omega-3s. Now that summer is here, your friends and family will likely be heating up the grill fairly often. Guess what? You can still say yes to hamburgers! Choose a lettuce wrap instead to skip out on 150 calories. For a snack, consider edamame. Not only is it low in calories, but it is also a good source of protein.
- Stay hydrated: Hydration is important no matter what season it is, but it is especially important during the hot summer months. Always keep a water bottle with you to stay cool and hydrated. Of course, you might not want to reach for water every time thirst strikes, so for other healthy options, try a glass of pink and ruby red grapefruit juice. It contains lycopene, which will protect your skin from UV rays. At a party, you might want to reach for alcohol and, while wine is fine, keep in mind that most wine will have at least 100 calories a serving. Try to limit your alcohol intake.
- Dining out: People tend to take some time off during the summer and might spend some of their vacation dining out with friends and family. While dining out, try to stay mindful of portion sizes. If a plate is simply too big, do not feel obligated to consume it all. Eat half and take the rest home with you. It is also important to choose appetizers wisely. Lots of appetizers are large enough to be considered an entrée, so if the people you are dining with end up not eating much of it, you might unknowingly eat an equivalent of two entrees. Lastly, avoid eating late at night. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to avoid eating after 7 pm, regardless if you are eating out or at home.
- Dining in: Speaking of which, make sure you clean out your cupboards to get rid of all the temptations you know you should steer clear of, such as cookies and potato chips. Be mindful of what you eat, but do not ever skip meals or snacks. Depriving yourself for too long will only result in you overeating at some point, which can derail your diet. To ensure a healthy calorie intake and to be aware of undereating or overeating, it would be wise to create a food journal. Studies have revealed that individuals who maintain food journals are generally more successful than those who do not when it comes to achieving weight loss goals. When dining in, make sure you plan your meals ahead. It can be incredibly easy to get overwhelmed with work or chores, so to avoid grabbing the wrong food, plan ahead.
- Eat your snacks: Snacks are important! In fact, when properly timed, they are just as important as your meals. Some easy, on-the-go snack foods include nuts, cheese, cherry tomatoes (which is a tasty and in-season summer choice), or other fruits and vegetables. In-season produce is generally a great way to snack during the summer and will undoubtedly give you a light, fresh feeling.
- Cooking and shopping: Even the best of us adults still have a hard time shopping for smart, healthy choices. The great part about summer, however, is that this is the season when produce is bountiful and affordable. Of course, lots of these foods do not come with nutrition labels, so it would also be a good idea to purchase a scale and measuring cups. It might surprise you to find out how much you are actually eating. Additionally, having the proper cooking utensils can help you cook healthier foods. If you want to avoid adding oil, get some non-stick pans and cooking spray to cook healthy dishes without adding unnecessary amounts of oil or butter. Buying proteins like chicken, fish, lean meats, and turkey are also healthy choices you should put in your shopping cart. They will serve as a key element in creating healthy, fulfilling meals.
- Exercise: No one can outrun a bad diet, but that does not mean exercise is not important, so make sure you incorporate a suitable exercise routine into your lifestyle. Find a trainer, class, or even a piece of equipment that you look forward to working with and stick with it. If you do not have the time to devote to an intense exercise routine, try incorporating smaller activities, such as skipping rope. Fifteen minutes of that activity will burn about 175 calories. Whatever you end up choosing, try to mix it up occasionally and stay committed.
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