We’re smack dab in the middle of summer—have you hit the beach or pool yet? If you’re still waiting for those last five pounds to come off before you put on your favorite swimsuit, here are a few summer slim-down tips to help accelerate your weight loss.
- Eat five times per day. We’re not talking full meals here—more like three normal meals and two snacks. Spreading your calories out over the day keeps your metabolism up and prevents your body from going into starvation mode (which slows metabolism down). As long as they’re healthy, snacks can be an important part of your diet.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water, and only water, every day. Sorry—soft drinks, juices and other sugary beverages don’t count. Not only will you save money and speed up fat metabolism, you’ll end up eating less because water fills you up. Before you sit down for a meal, chug a full glass of water.
- Exercise as soon as you wake up. Before you eat breakfast, try squeezing in a morning workout. This is the optimal time to burn fat instead of carbohydrates because your body has been fasting throughout the night, plus you’ll continue to burn calories at a higher rate for hours after your workout.
- Choose wheat instead of white. Whole grain and whole wheat carbs contain more fiber than white carbs. This suppresses your appetite, increases your rate of digestion and improves intestinal health.
- Stretch every day. How do you think dancers and avid yoga practitioners stay so slim? Stretching helps elongate your muscles. If you exercise, you should stretch for half the time of your workout.
- Don’t be afraid of “good” fats. Monounsaturated fats, which are found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, help control insulin levels, slow down carbohydrates rate of entry into the blood stream and send a signal to your brain to stop eating. No need to scarf down a pound of guac—these good fats work well in moderation (for example, as a meal condiment).
- Eat breakfast. Studies show that those who eat breakfast weigh less than those who skip. Why? For one, breakfast kick-starts your metabolism for the day. And two, when you eat breakfast, your body feels nourished and satisfied, making you less likely to overeat the rest of the day.
- Take home leftovers when dining out. Portions in many restaurants are bigger than what you’d typically eat if you dined at home. You can still manage portion control, however. Ask for a to-go box at the beginning of your meal, and pack up about a third of your meal right off the bat. That way you’ll still enjoy the satisfaction of finishing your meal at dinner, and you’ll have tomorrow’s lunch already set aside.
Any other summer slim-down tips you’d like to share?