The thermometer is rising, the ground is thawing. Maybe you’ve braved trying on your swimsuit from last year, and are now staring at the bathroom scale, trying to will the number down by a few pounds. Sound familiar? Well, don’t despair – we’ve put together a few simple steps to jump start your weight loss plan, not only for the swimsuit season, but permanently!
5 Strategies to Jump Start Your Weight Loss Plan For the Swimsuit Season
1. Rejuvenate your fridge and pantry
If you want to get real about losing weight and keeping it off, begin by removing any temptations that may be lurking in the kitchen. Spring cleaning should also apply to what you stock for foods – go through your pantry and fridge and get rid of any junk you see. Say goodbye to candies, sodas, cookies, chips, and other highly processed baked goods. Then say hello to fresh fruits and vegetables (especially of the brightly-colored variety), low-fat or nonfat dairy or soy products, and whole wheat cereals or breads.
2. Don’t supersize; “normal”-size!
In this era of supersize anything, it is always tempting to get more bang for your buck. But stretching your dollar should not come at the expense of your waistline. If you are used to stuffing yourself full just because you want to get your money’s worth, it’s time to learn some simple portion control. Chronic diseases that develop from poor eating practices are costlier in the long run than any cents you may save by “upgrading” that helping of fries -; just think of the cost of all the medical treatments!
3. Make water your main thirst quencher
Water is still the best beverage you can use to keep yourself hydrated, especially if you are watching your caloric intake. If you’re a habitual juice drinker, depending on the size of your glass, you can easily consume 100 to 200 kcal in a few gulps of juice. Get into the habit of eating your fruit instead of drinking it. If you are a habitual soda drinker, getting rid of the soda altogether will easily save you a few hundred calories in a day.
4. Follow your natural hunger and fullness cues
This point could be an entire book unto itself. If you are indiscriminately eating throughout the day with no regards to why you eat or what you eat, you jeopardize any weight loss goal you may have before you even start. Try writing down a week’s worth of your eating habits, paying particular attention to why you eat. Learn to distinguish true hunger (i.e. your body needing nourishment) from eating due to emotions or boredom. Along the same line, pay particular attention to how you feel as you are eating. Stop when you have had enough, not when the plate is empty.
5. Get moving
This will come as no surprise: If you want to lose weight and keep it off, a permanent exercise program is a must. Start a program that is realistic to your current level of fitness and time commitments, and stick to it. How much time do you need to commit? As a general guideline, aim to get 30 minutes of exercise every day, or most days of the week. Walk after lunch or dinner, or crank up your stereo at home and dance to your favorite tunes. Maybe try out that pilates or yoga class you keep meaning to go to. If you drive everywhere, park a little further away and make the walk to your destination part of your exercise plan.