Now that June’s weather is starting to heat up a bit thoughts turn to July 4th barbecues and summer vacations at the beach. That means swimsuits! Does this fill you with feelings of dread and body consciousness? If so, here are some simple tips to help guide you as you head into summer:
- Eat at least two servings of low-sugar fruit and three servings of vegetables a day, and eat the actual fruit and vegetables rather than their fibreless juices, which are higher in calories. For instance, a medium orange has 80 calories and four grams of fiber, while a small, 6-ounce glass of orange juice has 80 calories and no fiber.
- Make at least 90% of your grains whole grains. You'll get more Vitamins E and B6, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese and potassium. You will also get significantly more fiber, which increases satiety, and the complex carbohydrates will help you lose weight.
- Eat three meals and two or three snacks a day. Generally, eat reasonable portions of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats every 3-4 hours so you don't become overly hungry. Keeping yourself comfortably sated will boost and sustain your metabolism.
- Say no to sugar-sweetened drinks. Choose drinks that have no calories, or drinks that provide nutrients as well as calories, like milk and soy milk. Be especially wary of carbonated sodas and bottled teas—many of these beverages are loaded with sugar and/or fructose corn syrup. Sugary beverages have no fiber or nutrients, spike insulin levels, do not promote satiety, and can contain up to 300 empty calories per bottle! Water is a great choice, and important for weight loss. Studies have shown that often when people feel hungry they are really only thirsty. Drink water throughout the day. If that seems too bland, I suggest adding the juice of half a lemon or 4 tablespoons of unsweetened cranberry juice to 32 ounces of water with a sprinkle of stevia or agave nectar. Aside from being less than 2 carbs, you will get the health benefits that the stevia provides along with the vitamin C and electrolytes that lemon have. You can substitute limes for lemons if you get bored.
- Decrease the amount of prepared foods you eat, including frozen meals, canned soups, and food from restaurants. These foods are typically high in sodium and calories. The sodium leads to water retention, and the calories lead to fat. Both show up on the scale.
- Get moving! Whether you're walking around the block or jogging by the mile, ramp it up as your body becomes able. More movement burns more calories. Keep up with your Arc training, but also enjoy the outdoor activities such as gardening and hiking!
Guest Blogger and Fitness Enthusiast