It’s almost June, which means if you’re female, you’re probably thinking about how you can trim down to swimsuit size before summer’s first pool party.
Yes, it’s a routine we’re all too familiar with. We go about our normal lives – which at times might include lots of eating, drinking and laziness – then freak out when the time comes to bare all and frantically embark on a cleanse, no-carb diet, or other pseudo-extreme plan. We may shave a few pounds off here and there but always end up right back where we started – only a little more miserable for having restricted ourselves so much.
This year, I’m trying something different. Instead of ordering a bowl of lettuce when I go out to dinner, or passing on the nightly glass of wine that keeps me sane, I’m going to start making some small changes that add up to better health – and a better body – in the longrun. While I may not look exactly how I want a few weeks from now when I’m frolicking in the pool in Palm Desert, I know for sure I’ll be happier and healthier — and that in time, I’ll get to that sweet spot.
Want to join me on my Un-Diet-For-Summer? Here are some tips to get started. Since real change happens slowly, I recommend focusing on one or two of these at a time. After you’ve mastered one, you can move on to another. Before long, you’ll see the results you want — and they will last until next summer and beyond!
Keep a food diary. Getting real about what you’re doing now is the first step to trimming down, and to do that, you have to see what you’re eating on paper…or online/in a smart phone app. Writing down everything you eat for a few weeks will allow you to spot “problem areas” where you can make some small tweaks that add up to big results.
Don’t drink your calories. Calories that you eat are much more satisfying than liquid calories. So skip the soda, juices, and sweet coffee drinks so that you can eat healthy, hearty meals that satisfy.
Eat more vegetables and fruits. This is the one recommendation that every diet has in common, because fresh, frozen, and even canned fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in nutrients, and help keep you full. Every meal or snack you eat should include at least one serving of fruits or veggies.
Choose your indulgences wisely. If you love wine, skip the break room donuts or afternoon trip to Starbuck’s, so that you can have a glass with dinner without sabotaging your healthy eating plan. No matter what your indulgence of choice is, it will be that much tastier if you’ve saved up for it.
Keep healthy food in your house. You can’t eat healthy meals at home if all you have in the fridge is ketchup. Set a time to grocery shop each week (at least) and stock your fridge and pantry with whole, unprocessed foods so you are armed with healthy meals and snacks whenever hunger strikes.
Don’t let yourself get too hungry. It’s next to impossible to make a healthy decision when you’re starving, because your body just wants whatever food is in sight. Avoid overeating or unnecessary junk food splurges by eating regularly (for most people that means every 3-5 hours) and keeping healthy snacks handy in your purse, car, desk, etc.
Make healthy eating convenient for your own lifestyle. You’ll be more likely to stick to your goals if you create goals that fit well into your life. Restricting yourself in a way that’s inconvenient for your lifestyle (like promising to eat at home for every meal when you hate to cook) almost guarantees that your efforts won’t last — and we want them to last!
Accept yourself as you are now. There is nothing more attractive than a person who is comfortable in her own skin. So no matter where you’re at in your quest to be more fit, try to remember that you have the ability to be happy at any size.