Are you not where you want to be for bathing suit weather -- mentally and physically?
More water, less alcohol.
With the warmer months come more beer and barbecues. We're not saying you can't enjoy a cocktail every once in a while, but alcohol is a major inhibitor to fat loss. Typically, your liver metabolizes fat first so you can use it for energy. When alcohol enters your body, fat metabolism takes a backseat as your body works tirelessly to break down the alcohol. Imagine eating and drinking at the same time; your food gets stored as fat while your liver tries to breakdown the toxins entering your body.
If you do consume alcohol, pick your poison.Instead of a margarita (which can pack up to 500 calories), try red wine or flavored vodka with a splash of soda and fresh lime juice, both roughly 100 calories each. When you do indulge, given that alcohol inhibits food breakdown, make sure to drink at least one hour before or one hour after your healthy eats.
Better options (besides water)? Tea and coffee. Not only are these liquids made up of disease-fighting antioxidants, but they give you a slight calorie-burning effect due to the caffeine.
Practice 80% nutrition, 20% fitness.
We know the saying "abs are made in the kitchen" is way over used, but there's so much truth to it. You can't out run a bad diet, period.
Tip 1: Concentrate on lean protein (chicken, pork, turkey), healthy fats (low fat dairy & nuts) & low glycemic carbs (fruits, vegetables, beans, sweet potato, minimally processed grains, like quinoa and brown rice).
Tip 2: Consume carbohydrates during breakfast & lunch, giving you fuel for the day but also time to burn them off.
Skip the sugar.
From the cereal you eat for breakfast to the dressing on your salad to the ketchup on your fries, sugar is lurking everywhere and wrecking havoc on your weight loss efforts. We're not talking about the natural sugars that exist in fruits, vegetables and dairy -- carbohydrates that our bodies need to function. It's the sugar that's added to foods during processing for added flavor, texture or color that's the problem (juice, creamer, muffins, white bread & pasta, white potatoes, chips, crackers, sweets, alcohol). Added sugar increases insulin levels, hinders your metabolism and causes these calories to be stored as fat.
We're talking about high intensity internal training, folks. Studies have shown that this full-body circuit training that alters between high intensity workouts and short resting periods burns more calories than steady state calories or running on the treadmill for an hour. The best part: the intense exertion ensures that your body continues to burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after your workout. Bingo.
Bag it, don't grab it.
Meal prep. Take your lunches to work. Minimize lunches out. And happy hours after work.
According to a study done by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, people who kept a food diary six days a week lost twice as much weight as those who only recorded their food consumption one day a week or less. The thought is that if you know you have to record every bite, you might think twice about what you put in your mouth.
To help, download the My Fitness Pal app on your phone, which will journal and calorie count for you!
Dream sweet dreams.
We can agree (and researchers would back us up) that sleep is the most important 🔑 when it comes to your overall wellness and weight loss goals. A lack of 💤's can:
Change your fat cells and prevent fat loss.
When you get seven hours of sleep or less, your body experiences what University of Chicago coined as "metabolic grogginess." After a few days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to properly use insulin (the master storage hormone) becomes depleted, which causes your body to store fat in the wrong places. Additionally, according to a study done by Annals of Internal Medicine, people on a sleep-deprived diet saw their fat loss cut by 55% as opposed to their well-rested counterparts.
Increase cravings and make you hungrier.
Believe it or not, hunger isn't a culprit of will power or control. Sleeping less than six hours a night triggers the area of the brain that boosts your need for food while altering the hormones that help control hunger, leptin and ghrelin. I think we've all experienced the uncontrollable salty and sweet cravings after a rough nights sleep. Wouldn't it be nice if we craved kale instead of french fries? It just doesn't work like that, unfortunately.
Add a mind-body component.
Rest and recovery are as important as your high-intensity workouts—both mentally and physically. Incorporate yoga, meditation and stretching to your weekly routine to slow your mind and restore your muscles.
Find a PIC (partner-in-crime).
Community, support and accountability are powerful tools when trying to achieve your fitness goals. Find a group fitness class with like-minded people who are trying to get in shape too, or hire a one-on-one expert to fuel your motivation and take your fitness to the next level.
Being grateful for how far you've come, patient with the growth process and accepting of who you see in the mirror right this very moment will help motivate you to keep going and become the person you want to be.