Summer is definitely kicking into full gear, and while that beach-ready body is something we all long for, with all the other demands of a busy schedule, it's not always easy to find the time to work out every day. Unfortunately, this can lead us to think that the only way we can lose weight is to try unsafe methods such as crash diets or questionable fat burning pills. Thankfully, there are some safe weight loss strategies you can employ that won't demand all of your time, yet can produce real results. Below are three simple tips to use to shed pounds safely this summer while still being able to enjoy yourself!
1. Remember this: High protein, moderate carbs, low fat.
This simple mantra can serve as the basic outline for how you should approach your diet during the summer months. Eating protein-rich foods is important, because of all the different types of calories you consume, protein is widely considered to be the most filling of all.
Just think about it: Have you ever had a day where you kept wanting to eat carb-heavy snacks (e.g., donuts, cookies, potato chips, cinnamon buns, etc.), and no matter how much you ate, it just seemed like your stomach was a bottomless pit? This is the "Catch-22" that comes along with eating high-carb foods; they metabolize in a way that makes your blood sugar rise rapidly, which triggers a quick release of insulin into your system. This in turn causes your blood sugar to fall rapidly, making you hungry for more carbs. The cycle just keeps going until you can find something that metabolizes differently (e.g., protein) to stop this runaway train. A high protein diet consisting of lean meats, fish, poultry and low-fat dairy products will help to stabilize your system and give you a more satiated feeling after you eat.
Moderate carbs include rice, potatoes (not potato chips), oatmeal, salads (lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, etc.), and whole grains. High-carb foods should be avoided as much as possible, but if you're going to eat them, do it in the morning time; due to your body's circadian cycle, carbs are typically burned more efficiently during the morning hours than in the evening. It is a good idea to mix your carbs with your protein in order to get a good, balanced meal. If you want the best of both worlds in an easy-to-consume format, you can always drink protein shakes in the morning or just before bed.
As far as the low fat portion is concerned, this is not to say that fat is evil or even harmful in reasonable quantities. It's the foods that are particularly high in fat that need to be avoided, such as pizza, ice cream, fried food and the majority of the items on the average fast food restaurant menu. You can find healthy fats in foods such as avocados, nuts, fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.), and olive oil.
2. Simplify your workout routines.
This simply means choosing the most efficient type of workouts you can do in light of your time constraints. If you can hit the club and do a few rounds of circuit training exercises on various pieces of exercise equipment in one room, that makes more sense than going all over the place and having to make constant location or equipment changes. Or, combine your social life with your workout - play a game of tennis, go on a group run or take a new fitness class together!
There may be some days when you simply won't have time to commute to the gym at all, and that's no problem either; if you can squeeze in a quick 15-minute workout consisting of rounds of burpees, push-ups, squats and jumping jacks, you will have done a full-body workout that can help you burn calories and shed pounds with minimal hassle.
3. Drink tons of water.
Not only does drinking lots of water every day help you to feel full, but it enables your kidneys to flush out toxins (including metabolized fats) from your body. Failure to drink adequate amounts of water on a daily basis actually causes your fat deposits to increase, because your liver has to work that much harder to help your kidneys, which means that it won't be able to metabolize as much fat as it could with adequate water intake. Most experts recommend drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
Keep in mind the importance of staying consistent with your diet and exercise routines during the summer. No need to do anything drastic or dramatic; just put the three tips listed above into practice every day, and you'll still lose weight safely this summer and see a difference in how you look and feel!