Are you stressing over losing weight this summer? Does your old swimsuit fit? Worried you’re so out of shape you’ll look silly riding bikes with the kids or playing tennis with your friends? What about those revealing summer clothes? After indulging all winter, it’s time to make a change and reclaim your sexy summer body. Now is your chance to gain the confidence you need to enjoy this special season and lose that fat that keeps you from feeling and looking your best.
Having a sleek summer body is easier than you might imagine. With a little time and extra planning, you will find yourself sliding right into cute summer shorts and loving the way you look in sexy swim wear.
Let’s get started…
Water is needed for your body to function smoothly (including burning fat!), so plan to drink a minimum of 8 full glasses of water every day.
When you’re on the go, grab a plastic bottle with a straw or re-closable lid and fill it up with ice-cold water. Many stores carry bottles that can hold up to 64 ounces of water, so you don’t have to keep refilling your bottle.
If plain water is not your favorite drink, you can add a no-calorie or low-calorie drink mix to give your water some flavor. I use a little lemon juice and some artificial sweetener to make my water more enjoyable.
Even juices and milk help keep you hydrated. Consider counting your morning orange juice and your nightly glass of milk as 2 servings of water if you’re having a difficult time getting it all in. You can substitute a couple glasses of non-caffeinated drinks for 2 glasses of water each day.
An incredible side effect of good hydration is less hunger. When the body is dehydrated, it can confuse thirst for hunger. Anytime you are hungry or considering a snack, drink a glass of water first. You may be surprised by how often a cold glass of water will completely satisfy you.
Write it all down to lose weight
Like you, I’m a busy person and don’t always have time to plan out a balanced meal. At the same time, I know that several scientific studies have proven that recording my eating habits accelerates a person’s weight loss process by a big margin! Therefore, I make it a point to write down what I eat, from snacks to drinks to meals.
The simple practice of writing down what you’ve eaten will help you determine what eating habits need improvement. If notice that you are skipping breakfast and then overeating at lunch, you can take action to solve that problem quite easily. Recording what (and when) you eat will help you see what aspects of your diet need improvement.
Recording your snacks, drinks, and meals also provides accountability. I am much more motivated to eat well when I write down what I’ve eaten. It’s embarrassing to record having eaten a candy bar for lunch or 3 bowls of pasta for dinner, so keeping a food record helps me make better choices.
A food log or journal can be as simple as carrying a pen and a pocket-sized notepad in your bag. Write the date at the top of the page and create a section for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. As you eat throughout the day, simply write the name of the dish or item in the appropriate category.
If you enjoy technology, you can use an online food journal. Many of these journals are free and allow you to record what you’ve eaten, the calorie content, the nutritional components of your snacks and meals, as well as personal weight loss goals.
When you have a great week with excellent weight loss, it’s good to analyze what you ate during that week. This will help you plan meals in the future. If you have a week with little weight loss, consider reviewing your log for that week also to determine trouble spots.
High Fiber Snacks
Are you worried that you won’t feel satisfied or get enough to eat while slimming down? I felt the same way until I discovered the incredible benefits of fiber. Fiber-rich foods are not only great for your health; they also keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Adding more fiber to your meals and snacks is easy and surprisingly tasty. Instead of drinking high calorie, no fiber juice concentrates, enjoy a glass of water and a piece of whole fruit. Apples, oranges, pears, and bananas are all delicious sources of fiber.
Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber a day and men should strive for 38 grams for optimal health and weight loss. Consider choosing popcorn as a snack. It’s a whole grain, a great source of fiber, and it’s low calorie. Some zero calorie seasonings from your pantry can spice it up and add variety.
At meals, try substituting whole grain pasta or brown rice for your typical starch. Nuts and legumes are delicious nutritional powerhouses and boast healthy amounts of fiber per serving. Don’t forget to add in your favorite veggies like potatoes, artichokes, and carrots. Even sweet corn is an excellent source of fiber!
Count your Calories
For the best weight loss results, I use the mantra “calories in, calories out”. Your body burns a base number of calories doing normal, life-sustaining functions. Any extra activity you do, from chewing a piece of gum to mowing the yard, requires extra calories.
The key to phenomenal weight loss success is in burning more calories than you consume. If that sounds simple, it’s because it is!
The first step is to determine how many calories your body needs to sustain your current weight. There are many free calorie calculators online, or you can do a “BMR Equation”. For women, the equation is BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years). Men should use BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in year).
As an example, a 25-year-old woman who is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 135 pounds would need 1,416 calories per day to maintain her weight. A 30-year-old man who is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 170 would need 1,810 calories per day to maintain his weight.
Once you know what your current weight maintenance calorie requirement is, you can begin losing weight by creating a calorie deficit. That is, by burning more calories than you consume.
There are two main ways to create a calorie deficit and slim down. The first is through diet. By eating 3,500 less calories than your body needs to maintain your weight, you can lose 1 pound. Trimming 500 calories off your daily calorie intake will reduce your weight by a pound a week.
Reducing calories doesn’t mean you have to eat only salads. To maximize your results, be sure to get at least 1,200 calories day from a variety of foods.
A great way to reduce calories without sacrificing taste is by making minor ingredient substitutions. Try artificial sweetener instead of sugar in your coffee. Enjoy an egg white omelet or use an egg substitute. If you love cheese, look for low-fat versions. Turkey or soy-based meat proteins are tasty substitutions for fatty meats.
Try to make your diet as colorful as possible. If it’s low in color (think fried, crispy junk food), it’s likely to be low in both flavor and nutrients. Fresh foods like green salads, juicy strawberries, and bright peppers are all low in calories and high in satisfaction.
To save on prep time, you can purchase pre-chopped vegetables at the supermarket. Portion-controlled low-calorie frozen dinners are perfect for a quick meal and are often much cheaper than grabbing something at the drive-through.
I try to make eating well as easy as possible to control temptation. Instead of grabbing a vending machine candy bar, I keep a banana or fiber bar in my purse for snacking.
Burn lots of Calories this Summer
Talk to your doctor and make sure it’s safe for you to start an exercise program. Once you get the green light, it’s time to tone up and start fitting yourself into the outfits you’ve dreamed of wearing!
If your spouse or friends are interested in increasing their fitness, or just having a good time, you can invite them to exercise with you. Time spent working out with friends or family is great for bonding and provides accountability. You won’t want to let your partner down by skipping workouts!
I always start my work out with some light stretching. Gently loosening up your muscles will prevent injury and increase your performance. Be sure to spend several minutes stretching before each and every work out session.
Once your muscles are warmed up, you can move on to the “warm up” portion of your work out. A warm up can last from five to twenty minutes. During this portion of your work out session, you will be exercising and moving at a slightly slower pace.
Now you are ready to move on to the more vigorous part of your work out. For maximum fitness, try to fit in a few days of cardiovascular exercise and a few days of strength training each week. Don’t forget to schedule a few “off” days to give your body time to build those sleek new muscles!
The best thing about strength training is that it’s absolutely free. There are a lot of great products on the market that can assist you in your journey toward a sleek summer body, but you can still make the most of your muscles with items you have on hand in your home.
Body weight resistance is one form of strength training. Many exercises use your own body weight to stress your muscles and increase muscle strength. Exercises like squats, push-ups, and side planks utilize your body weight to create resistance.
If you’d like an added challenge, weights can be added to your work out to maximize your effort. Weights can be as cheap and simple as a couple cans of vegetables or an inexpensive set of dumbbells. Medicine balls, weighted balls, and kettle bells are excellent strength training tools.
A medicine ball routine can be used as both cardio and strength training for a more streamlined approach to fitness. I like to use my medicine ball to do quick movements, raising my heart rate and stressing my muscles at the same time.
After completing your strength training or cardio work out, it’s important to engage your body in a “cool down” period. This should be similar to your warm-up session. Five to ten minutes of low-pace activity allows your body to return to its previous state without trauma.
Even if it’s difficult for you to find time to fit in activity, a five minute warm-up, twenty minute work out, and 5 minute cool down will burn fat and calories without intruding on your daily obligations. The most important factor is consistency. Make your work out a mandatory part of your day. You may find you look forward to it!
Losing Weight this Summer
Remember when I told you there were two main ways to create a calorie deficit? Imagine if you took those two methods, calorie reduction and increased calorie expenditure, and used them together! The third and most effective method for getting the body you desire is adding a reduction in calories and daily exercise.
Muscles are calorie-burning machines. The more muscles you build, the more calories your body burns, even at rest. Harnessing the power of exercise to build muscle along with burning calories through exercise and consuming a little less will give you astonishing results.
Once those basics are covered, use the formula or an online calculator to determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. Subtract 500 calories per day to lose a pound a week. Be sure to take in enough calories to stay satisfied and keep good health.
Now that you’re really making strides toward that hot figure you desire, keep going with daily exercise. If you need to start slow, begin with increasing your daily household activities. Add in sports or other active recreation that you enjoy and be sure to invite a friend!
For the ultimate in body reshaping, maintain regular cardio and strength-training workouts, focusing on stretching, warming up, working out hard, and then cooling back down. You CAN do it you can lose that fat
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