Looking for simple ways to slim down in time for the summer? This list is everything you need to tweak your diet and workout routine just enough to get noticeable results in a short amount of time before summer is here. You can build these into your normal routine to keep the healthier you going strong through summer and beyond.
1. Eat Real Food
Put down that packaged dinner, and back out of the drive thru. To see the numbers on the scale go down, you’ll have to pick up some whole foods. Eating real food helps you ditch the added sugars and ingredients that never fill you up and only make you crave more. Whole foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains are full of nutrients and filling fiber to keep your mind on something other than food.
2. Keep Sugar On the Low
Sugar is the #1 culprit to weight gain, and it is hiding inside of pretty much everything we consume. Pay close attention to food and drink labels for sugar content and try to keep your sugar intake to around 40 grams a day. If you’re a fan of juices and smoothies, drink them in moderation or useless sugary fruits, dark berries and avocados and load up on more veggies.
3. Nix the Alcohol
Depending on your social calendar, cutting back on alcohol can save you more than 1,000 calories a week (that’s about 2 margaritas)! But if skipping the bar is a challenge, there are healthier drinks out there as well. A simple tequila with club soda and a squeeze of lime is low in sugar and calories. Same goes for wine or sangria made with fresh fruit juice. When choosing drinks that won’t set you back, keep it simple and avoid the pre-mixed variety.
4. Burn 500 Calories a Day
With your nutrition in check, you can really melt the fat with some serious calorie burn every day. If you do one activity that makes you break a sweat for 60 minutes, you’ll easily reach the 500 calorie mark. If an hour at a time is too intense, you can break up your sweat sessions throughout the day. Stick to this daily plan to burn a pound of fat in just one week.
5. Healthy Meal Replacement
You can quickly cut back on calories by replacing a meal with a protein shake, smoothie or juice. The key is to choose ingredients that are low in sugar and calories, but high in protein and nutrients to keep you satisfied. Swapping out our breakfast for a healthy smoothie is a easy change to make during the summer. Not to mention, you can save time and money in the process.
6. Hit the Weights
Even though it sounds backward, building muscle is a major key to slimming down. If you can do at least 2 days of strength training each week, you’ll build the lean muscle you need to burn more calories when you’re doing absolutely nothing. You will probably start to look slimmer too because muscle takes up less space than fat. Be sure to use weights for all your muscles, especially larger muscle groups like your legs and back for an extra metabolism boost.
7. Buddy Up
If you’re going to stick to your summer slim-down goals, you’ll be more successful with someone in your corner. Try finding a friend with the same goals as you and come up with a plan. It’s much more difficult to skip out on the gym when you know someone is expecting you to show up. You and your buddy you can swap recipes, keep each other motivated and nudge one another if someone falls off the wagon.
8. Stay Hydrated
Amidst all your summertime fun, don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps your body to better digest food, curb hunger and flush out waste. Heat can also cause more inflammation, but putting more water into your body can help you flush out excess water weight as well.
9. Travel the Healthy Way
When you book your next vacation, don’t plan to let everything fall to the wayside. You can stay active on location with just a little bit of planning. Schedule some walking tours, spend time playing in the water, or rent a bike to explore your new destination while being active at the same time. You could come back from vacation looking better than ever!
10. Do a Daily Detox
Even with perfect nutrition and exercise habits, your body can still find ways to hold on to extra weight. Some of the foods you eat can cause your body to hang on to water, which can make you look and feel heavier. Knock out the excess water weight by mixing 20 oz of water with freshly grated ginger, sliced cucumber, and mint leaves. Let it chill overnight and sip on this tasty slimming water all day long. Together, these ingredients soothe the stomach and aid in digestion. Say goodbye to fluff and hello to summertime sexy!
Sharita Jennings is a health policy attorney, ACE certified group fitness instructor and nutrition specialist. She leads fitness classes in Washington, DC and provides online coaching and tips on her site, GetFitLikeThat.com.