Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Weight Loss Tips

It’s been looming on my calendar (and my mind) for months now. At first, just as a random, fleeting thought I could brush aside. Then, the dreaded event began to wheedle its way into my mind at the most inopportune times – at fast food joints, in the shopping mall, even while I was sitting on the couch watching TV. It’s gotten so close now that I even have nightmares about it. What is this dreaded event you ask? Bathing suit season. AHHHHH!!!!

Okay, sure, I’m being a little dramatic here but let’s face the facts. As we age, our metabolisms’ slow down and it’s much more difficult to keep the weight off. In my early twenties I could binge eat all day and throw on a bikini without even thinking about it. Now, I eat a carrot and gain five pounds. If you’re worried about bathing season, here are some tips from to help cut calories and feel great this season!

Stock Up For the Summer. Chocolate bars and chips are fine once in a while but they won't give you the nutritional value you need. To really boost your health, make sure you load up on nutrient-dense snacks that you can easily grab and go. A good way of doing this is to prep your snacks in small plastic bags or containers so that you have them when you want them.

Here are a couple ideas that will stir up your creativity.

Chunks of fruit and veggies
Trail mix of dry cereal
Nuts, dried fruit, and a few chocolate chips
Whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter
Energy bar cut into bite-sized pieces
Popcorn or cookies in small portions
Munch On This When summer hits, the grocery stores are overflowing with mouth watering greens, fruits and vegetables - which by the way are great for amazing salads.

When we think "salads" our automatic thought is leafy green lettuce with tomatoes and the rest of the boring ingredients. But salads don't always have to be like that, you can add, watercress, spinach, mixed greens, grapes, avocados, peaches, asparagus, grape tomatoes, melons, and strawberries for a refreshing change.

And if you wanted to add a little protein to your meal try a little grilled chicken, tuna, beans, chickpeas, nuts, or cheese. Mix it up a bit. Use some leftovers from the fridge, it's simple, healthy, and you don't have to plan ahead. Just get your butt to the grocery store!

Don't Let the Heat Keep You Down. Don't be couch potato this summer. If you want this to be a healthy summer limit your TV and computer time to less than two hours a day. What are you going to do with the rest of your time? Get outside. Become a healthy role model for your family.

There are lots of great outdoor activities to try or you could even learn how to play a new sport. I actually have a good friend whose learning to play golf it's something out of her element but I know she's going to have fun and learn something new, but on top of all those benefits she's being active which is what we're aiming for. So go out there and try some belly dancing, horse back riding or something different that you wouldn't normally do.

Think outside the box!

Glug, Glug. One of the most important aspects to being healthy and staying active in the summer is hydration. Depending on the temperature, humidity, and the type of activity, you might not realize how much you're sweating.

Try to drink about two cups of water two hours before your activity, during your activity drink about 4-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes and replace the lost fluid after your activity as well.

Water is the best for most outdoor activities as well as for weight loss. If your exercise lasts more than an hour, either watered down fruit juice or a sport drink will provide carbohydrates for energy plus minerals to replace lost electrolytes that you lose when you sweat.

Enjoy a Nap. Who doesn't love a midday nap? Rest your back out on a hammock or lawn chair. Research shows that taking a nap may lower your risk of heart disease. Being able to take afternoon naps can help lower your stress levels, which helps you maintain your heart health.

There was actually a study in Greece that found that taking naps at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes reduced risk of death from heart disease by one-third.

Become a Morning Exerciser. Nobody likes waking up in the morning to exercise…especially in the winter. But the summer is a little different. You get that inviting morning air feeling that you don't get in the winter.

The weather is great because it's not too hot and not too cold. The birds are chirping and everything seems to just slow down. Exercising in the morning is a healthy way to lose weight, plus you'll beat the heat. Try to have some self-discipline and treat your morning exercise as an important meeting, I guarantee that once you get started you'll feel 1000 times better

Now here’s a tip from me, Emma: Try using margarine on your morning toast or even in your recipes. Margarine is lower in calories than butter, lower in saturated fats and has no cholesterol!

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