Spring is traditionally the time of year when a young man thinks about love and a young woman thinks about how she will look in a swim suit. It is the time when diet commercials abound and magazine articles are filled with tips for losing weight and getting in shape for the beach. Health professionals, nutritionists and fitness experts all agree that crash dieting to fit into that bikini is the worst possible idea.
Here are a few suggestions for getting your body beach ready in a healthy manner.
1) Set realistic goals
If you want to avoid the fatigue, anxiety, and sugar cravings that accompany a crash diet, don’t try to lose 30 pounds in six weeks. Instead schedule regular, moderate exercise combined with a balanced, low calorie/low fat diet. You can expect to lose 1-2 pounds a week without over stressing your body or your mental health.
2) Focus on strength and weight training
Contrary to popular belief, cardiovascular exercise is not the best way to lose weight. A number of studies have proven that cardio can leave exercisers feeling tired and hungry and they end up making poor food choices or overeating to refuel their energy levels. Weight training builds lean muscle mass which increases the amount of calories you burn. It also helps sculpt your body into the shape you desire.
3) Eat protein AND high fiber carbs
Remember that fat and sugar are the culprits and not all carbs are bad. High fiber carbs, such as those found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, are a necessary part of a balanced diet because fiber helps slow digestion and stabilize blood sugar. This means less sugar cravings. Dietary fiber also helps you feel fuller, with virtually no additional calories. Start the day with a simple breakfast including protein such as yogurt or low-fat milk, high fiber cereal and maybe a few berries or other fruit and you’ll reap those rewards along with avoiding the mid-morning hunger cravings.
4) Keep a food & diet journal
Use the journal to plan out your meals and exercise and then reward yourself with a checkmark or star when you stick to the plan. Recording everything you eat makes you more conscious of your food choices and seeing the progress as you lose weight and inches will be the perfect inspiration to help you look great on the beach.