Spring is upon us and if you have lived in Baltimore long enough, you know we move into summer rather quickly! Bathing suit and tank top weather is almost here and it’s time to get your body in summer shape! Incorporate these tips into your daily way of life and you will see results.
1.Focus on what you accomplish daily or weekly and not on the # on the scale. Celebrate your successes and accomplishments and you will have a more positive outlook on weight loss. Celebrate when you take time to eat a healthy breakfast or when you eat two healthy snacks throughout the day. Be happy when you use your inner strength to stop eating after 7:30 pm or when you use self control to pass on a piece of cake after dinner. These are successes that will add up to weight loss!
2. Surround yourself with positive and healthy people- have you ever spent time with someone who constantly complains or is always negative? How do you feel afterwards? Probably drained and negative yourself! You choose who you spend time with, spend it with people who build you up and make you feel good. Life is too short to waste it with constant negativity- there are too many positives in life not to ignore. Do we all feel down from time to time…sure! Just being aware how often keeps you in check and can help you keep a brighter attitude. Do all your social g atherings center around high caloric food? If so, come up with healthy alternatives like taking a hike with friends or instead of going out, have everyone over to cook a healthy meal together or go on a picnic and pack healthy foods you have at home or buy at your local gourmet grocery store.
3.Be mindful of what you eat….and why you are eating it! Eat a healthy snack when you are hungry, not because you are stressed, depressed or tired. Eating based on an emotion will get you in trouble and lead to bad eating habits. Have a list of alternate (healthy activities) that you can do when you feel tired or stressed for example. Some I like to suggest include, but obviously are not limited to, calling your best friend for support, taking a long warm bath, read a good book, take a walk or run, take a quick 20 min power nap, look up healhty snacks on this site and make grocery list of items you need to purchase.
4.Exericse at least 3 times per week- walking the dogs or gardening doesn’t count as the exercise I’m talking about. Although they are two great activites and are better than sitting on the couch all day, you need to get at least 25-30 min of vigourous exercise 3 times a week. Come try a Fit Mom class and fulfill this criteria!
5. Incorprate intervals into your workouts- working at a high intensity creates EPOC-(exericse post oxygen consumption) which basically means the afterburn of calories which can last up to 48 hours after exericing. This means for many hours after exericisng at a high intensity, your body will continue to burn up to 25% more calories, thus raising your overall metabolic rate. Studies have shown that shorter bursts of high intensity intervals will burn more fat than longer, steady state exercise sessions- the bulk of fat burning taking place after the workout!
6.Eat 4 or 5 times a day- try eating 3 meals 300-400 calories and two snacks between 150-200 c alories. This will help regulate your metabolism( keeping calorie burn constant) and will keep blood sugar levels stable to prevent energy crashes and food cravings that could throw you off course. It will also help prevent you from ever feeling too hungry whci makes you prone to over eat. See this site for healthy snack and meal ideas.
7. Limit the number of times you eat out. It is possible, but more difficult to eat healthy at a restaurant. There are so many temptations starting with warm rolls and butter to saucy appetizers to a dessert tray. Is it ok to enjoy a higher caloric meal once or twice a week….sure! Just make sure you are eating e xtremely well the rest of the week. If you have to eat out more often that you would like, be sure to eat a quick snack before you go and check the menu before you go so you have an idea of healthy options that are offered. Also- don’t hesitate to ask your server how your meal is cooked (in butter? cream sauce?) ASk for it grilled with olive oil or cooking spray, ask for dressing on side, etc.
8. Read labels at the grocery store- Choose products with 100% whole grain or whole wheat and stay away from processed snacks that contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) or hydrogenated oils/trans fat. Foods to avoid are fast food, soda, juice, pastries/store bought cookies,cake, processed meat, processed cheese(Cheez Whiz, Velveeta), anything white (bread, rice noodles) Eat “cleanly” and healthily as possible (see my post on clean eating 9/2010)
9. Limit alcohol to two or three drinks per week- alcohol is high in empty calories an can cause poor judgement leading you to make unhealthy food choices (often the next day…think cheesesteak/pizza) You know what I’m talking about! Something you probably didn’t know….alcohol releases estrogen into the bloodstream which promotes fat storage and inhibits muscle growth-
10. Get more sleep! Not only will you feel better (you can tell in class when I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep! you will have a better chance of eating healthy throughout the day. A lack of sleep causes a lower level of hormones to be released that control our appetite and cravings for carbs and higher caloric foods. Studies have shown those who slept the fewest hours had the highest % of body fat and weight. Lack of sleep also triggers the release of cortisol (stress hormone) that promotes abdominal fat and is responsible for making us feel hungry even when we are full.
All the above tips can be incorported in your life starting today. They take no special equipment, and not a lot of time. It does take some discipline and involves taking responsibility for your actions. Think of how you make committments to others and take them seriously…now make the same committment to yourself. Aren’t you worth it? Don’t you deserve to treat yourself the respectful way you treat others?