Summer is coming, are you ready?

Summer is coming, are you ready?

We all want to look fabulous at the beach and this time of year has a way of making you feel pressured to diet and to try to loose extra weight. The focus should always be on being healthy. So here are some health tips to help you look and feel your best no matter what season it is.

Drink Water 
Thirst can be confused with hunger and you could end up eating extra calories when a glass of water would have done the trick.  Also adding a squeeze of lemon or lime to your water can give it lots of flavor with no extra calories. Another great way to add flavor is to get a muffin tin, add a slice of lemon and lime and then add water and freeze. Keeps your beverage cold and gives it a nice flavor. You can add a few to your sports bottle and keep refilling all day.

Being positive
Start by focusing on adding more fruits and vegetables. Planning ahead will help you to stay on track, try cutting & preparing carrot/ celery slices and keep them in the front of the fridge. Some grocery stores now carry organic frozen vegetables that can make adding to meals a lot easier when you are pressed for time. I always purchase frozen broccoli to add to my egg whites in the morning. Adding more fruits will help you feel full from the volume of food you are eating and you’re less likely to overeat. Make sure you pair your fruit with a serving of protein – like a spoon of peanut butter with an apple.

Am I really hungry? 
Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that you need to refuel, so when a craving doesn’t come from hunger, it wont matter what you eat, you will never feel satisfied. When you’re done eating, you should feel better not stuffed, bloated, or tired. And believe it or not, our stomach is only the size of a fist, so it only takes just a handful of food to fill it comfortably.

Snacks at night
Mindless eating occurs most frequently after dinner, when you finally sit down and relax. I playfully call it “the snack that never ends.” When you finally get the chance to sit down after a long day, if it’s in front of the TV with a bag of something crunchy this is an example of eating amnesia where you are eating out of habit without being hungry. Planning ahead can help you get across this bridge. If you are really hungry, allow yourself to have a low – calorie snack like a yogurt with a banana or maybe a weight loss shake with frozen fruit. Make sure it’s something you enjoy or you will find yourself back in the kitchen.

Life is meant to be enjoyed and food is part of life. Depriving yourself never works and it makes everyone around you want to hide under a blanket and you know what I mean if you are laughing right now. Single serving items are safer to purchase if you know they will temp you. If you have to have a cookie buy only 1 instead of a the box, or a slice of cake instead of the whole cake or pie. If you do this allow yourself to enjoy it – don’t beat yourself up or call it cheating or it can backfire on you.

If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. But when you’re hungry all the time, eating fewer calories can be challenging. Instead of eating 3 big meals, having 6 smaller meals can be healthier. Maybe take each meal and divide in half, have your salad first, then wait a while and have a sweet potato instead of eating both a same time. Give your body a chance to actually feel hungry.

Portion Control 
A little trick I have learned, use your dinner plate for salad and your salad plate for dinner. Nothing worse than feeling deprived. If the plate looks full you will feel satisfied.

Protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats, and may be the new secret weapon in weight control. Getting enough protein helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning while keeping you feeling full. So be sure to include healthy protein sources, like yogurt, cheese, nuts, or beans during meals and for snacks.

Adding spices to your food for a flavor boost can help you feel satisfied. Food that is loaded with flavor will stimulate your taste buds and you will feel more satisfied. Try adding cinnamon and cottage cheese to your toast or you could add cinnamon to your yogurt. Adding vanilla to wheat free gluten free pancakes is pure heaven. Have fun experimenting with new ideas.

Stock up
Planning is a big part of being successful. You must have ready-to-eat snacks and meals you can prepare quickly in your pantry and freezer. Planning ahead means you will be less likely to stray from the path you are on. Here are a few ideas to make life a little easier.

  • Frozen bags of vegetables
  • Bags of pre-washed salad greens
  • Cherry tomatoes and mushrooms, they taste good in everything
  • Canned beans
  • Whole-grain wraps or pita bread
  • Pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts
  • Egg beaters – great for omelets and to use in recipes in place of eggs
  • Low sodium organic soups
  • Organic frozen meals – I have tried Newman’s own recently and it’s very good in a pinch

It’s Kiddie time
If you are eating out, order from the children’s menu. A child’s pizza or sandwich is an easy way to trim calories and keep your portions under control. Look online at the menu so you will be prepared ahead of time. Remember planning is part of being successful.

Simply by eating less pasta or bread and more veggies, you could lose a dress or pants size in a year. You can save from 100-200 calories if you reduce the portion of starch on your plate and increase the amount of vegetables.

Coping with Stress
Sooner or later, you’re going to be faced with a stressful situation. Instead of turning to food for comfort, be prepared with some non-food tactics that work for you. Reading a book or magazine, going for a walk on the beach, listening to music, doing yoga or exercising at the gym, writing how you feel in a journal, practicing meditative deep breathing, talking to a friend or supportive family member. Learning to cope with stress without reaching for food is a step in the right direction.

30 days
It takes about 30 days to establish a habit. Being consistent and having patience with yourself will go a long way. Scheduling the time for yourself whether you get up a little earlier to exercise or prepare for your food. Remind yourself that you are a priority. We all have people who need us and rely on us but we can not take care of anyone if we do not take care of ourselves.

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