I was chatting with gal pals the other day about how quickly the year has flown by. I mean, it's already May, which means the skimpy outfits of summer are just around the corner. How did that happen?! Anyway, for all of you who (like me) are unprepared for swimsuit season, here are a few tips I found to help lose weight before summer really kicks in.
1. Dear diary… Keep a food journal. Often, we eat more than we realize. And when it comes to weight, every calorie counts. It helps to write down all food and beverages consumed throughout the day to get an accurate picture of the number of calories you are consuming. From the bagel and banana at breakfast, to the salad dressing and roll with lunch and handful of mixed nuts before dinner, write down everything you consume. You may find that the calories really add up! These types of journals can help uncover hidden calories, specify eating patterns, highlight problem areas and, essentially, increase the chances of weight loss success down the road.
2. Feeling frustrated? Hit the gym. Regular exercise can produce overall health benefits. And it doesn’t have to involve hour-long training sessions at an expensive fitness center. Go for a quick jog in the morning before you get ready for work. Instead of driving to the office, walk or bicycle. Bypass the elevator for the stairs and go for a brisk stroll around your building after lunch. Remember, muscle burns more calories than fat, so a regular mixture of cardio, flexibility and toning exercise is the best way to increase metabolism.
3. Watch what you drink. When it comes to diets, many people focus on the food without accounting for beverages. Every fruit juice, soda and sweetened coffee comes bearing calories – with some containing as many as a meal. This is not to say you have to give up all your favorite beverages to lose weight. All foods and beverages can be incorporated into a healthy eating plan. However, you can save calories, for example, by drinking sucralose-sweetened products such as light lemonade and light cranberry juice or diet soda. Drinking a diet soda in place of a full-calorie soda can save 150 calories alone. Over the course of a year, that daily calorie savings could result in a 15-pound weight loss. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water and consider switching from whole to nonfat or low-fat milk.
4. Eat less, more often. Many experts say eating small snacks throughout the day will lead to healthier choices when it comes to the three main meals. Bring healthy snacks to work to curb your appetite, such as carrot sticks, pretzels, string cheese, low-fat energy bars or fruit. This way, you’re less likely to go home and eat a box of crackers with cheese before dinner. Also, frequently consuming snacks can help keep your blood sugar level steady and your energy up.
5. Sugar-free does a diet good. Sure, too much ice cream is not necessarily a good thing. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to deprive yourself of the frozen treat. Instead, try the low-calorie, sugar-free version. Have five pieces of sucralose-sweetened chocolate instead of regular chocolate and save 50 calories. And sugar-free yogurt eliminates about 110 calories per serving. If you start incorporating sucralose into your favorite recipes now, you could easily be flaunting a healthier weight in a few short months.
Make a healthier lifestyle your new priority and find ways to stay inspired. Remember, a weight loss of half a pound to one and a half pounds a week is sensible.