Longer days with warmer temps and more SUNLIGHT make it a great time to renew your commitment to a healthier, slimmer body.
The best way to make lasting change in your lifestyle habits is by starting with small changes that become second nature. Here is a list to help you get started on sustainable, lasting weight loss:
1) Stay hydrated: Your body needs quite of bit of fluid each day just to maintain its basic functions. The current fluid recommendation is about 13 cups per day for men and 9 cups per day for women. If you indulge in any “anti-hydrating” vices such as consuming sugary drinks, soda, caffeine or alcohol, you need to add another cup of water to offset the dehydrating effects. You also need to add extra water if you are out in the warm sun or exercising during the day. Try drinking a glass of water before your meals, which can make you feel fuller and promote weight loss. Don’t like the taste of plain water? Consider adding a squeeze of citrus or make some iced herbal tea to excite your taste buds.
2) Sleep: Many studies have shown that healthy weight loss occurs in people who are able to get a solid night’s sleep. Part of this is related to the hormones our body produces to tell us when and how much to eat. When we are sleep deprived these hormones get out of balance and we can end up overeating. Make sure to get to sleep no later than 10 p.m. and aim for 7-8 hours per night.
3) Eat more seasonally available fruits and veggies: A great way to skip the temptation of high calorie, low nutrient packaged and processed foods is to skip the supermarket altogether this summer. Shop at your local farmer’s market (Edmonds has a great one Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout the summer) and buy a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your meals healthy and packed with delicious and nutritious flavors.
4) Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast: In order to keep your metabolism up and blood sugar stable, make sure to start your day with a nutrient-rich breakfast that includes at least 5-10 grams of protein. Skipping meals can send a signal to your body that it needs to ration energy so your metabolism may slow. Keep healthy snacks within close reach and pay attention to when your body gives you hunger cues.
5) Move your body every single day: It doesn’t matter if you currently do nothing or if you are out exercising daily. Our bodies thrive off of adaptation and variety when it comes to movement. If you already have a good exercise routine in place, mix things up and try something new like walking a hilly area of town as opposed to the flat roads you’re used to, or do some lake swimming instead of laps in the pool. Join a workout group that meets in a local park. Nothing is better than joining with other people to stay motivated!
6) Set realistic and fun goals: Stay off of that scale this summer and instead of worrying about objective goals, set goals that will keep you excited to keep up with your new lifestyle habits. These could include signing up for a 5K fun run or lake swim, getting your endurance up so you can hike on your vacation to Hawaii, losing enough to fit back into your favorite little black dress, or just something as simple as “feeling better”. It’s important to know that sustainable weight loss is slow weight loss so keep those goals realistic and enlist a buddy to take the journey with you.
*Remember to talk to your healthcare provider if you have any health concerns or questions about starting a new exercise or dietary program.
Dr. Alicia Cole, who practices at Pur Skin Clinic in Edmonds, is a graduate of Bastyr University’s Naturopathic Medicine program and is a licensed primary care physician in the state of Washington. Dr. Cole’s areas of expertise include esthetic and anti-aging medicine, dermatology, women’s health, endocrinology and treatment of chronic disease.