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Look, I know that for those of you that know me you are probably wondering why I am the one writing this particular article… since I am a LONG way from my envisioned “summer body”. But, it is that time of year when folks start wondering what happened to all of the New Years Resolutions they set and realizing that summer, and pools, and swim suits are just around the corner and they start to freak out about attaining some goal. So, let’s talk about it.
Say NO to the “Summer Body”
Lose the idea that you need a “summer body”. That mindset is ultimately going to create frustrations in your life. Instead focus on a “healthy body”. True, it does take longer to attain a “healthy body” but by reaching that goal you will also gain a “summer body” and it will last all year long.
Say NO to the fad diets
There are a LOT of them out there. And every single one of them has some great things about them…and some bad things about them. I have probably read every single book and listened to practically every podcast on them so I will keep my opinions on them to myself with exception to the following statements:
- Eat REAL food. If it comes in a box or a bag, you should probably avoid it. If it has “ingredients” that you can’t pronounce, you should probably avoid it.
- “Fad” diets (for the purposes of this specific discussion) is any diet that you start for the sole purpose of losing a lot of weight and with the full knowledge that you will not stick to that diet for the remainder of your life.
It is easy to say stop eating sugar or carbs or red meat or bananas or …. whatever it is that you aren’t supposed to eat according to this or that… for a week, or a month. But what will you be able to do long term? Every person is built and functions differently, so YOU have to figure out what will work for YOU. Maybe it is low fat/high carb; maybe it is Paleo; maybe it is Keto; maybe it is the “aliens diet from mars”…. Whatever, if it works for you, and it meets the REAL food rules and is generally approved by your physician, then do that.
Click here for Heart-Check Certified Recipes from the American Heart Association.
Whether it is one hour of exercise every other day or 15 minutes of exercise every other hour… it all adds up. Just start moving.
- Take a walk at lunch instead of eating at your desk
- Get a cordless headset so when you have a phone call you can stand up and walk around your office
- Park further away from the store front
- Take the stairs, not the elevator
The AHA recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week for adults. Activities such as a brisk walk at lunch or yoga when you wake up or before going to bed count.
Additionally, adults should focus on muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days per week. That doesn’t mean you need to become the next body builder champion, but you should do things that will strengthen and tone your muscles… running, jumping rope, swimming, or lifting weights all count.
WATER! Not sodas, not energy drinks, not even coffee or tea. WATER!
The more water you drink the better your body will function in all aspects of health. Water helps your body:
- keep your temperature normal
- lubricate and cushion joints
- protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
- get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements
The common recommendation is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. So, if you weight 200 pounds you should be drinking 100 ounces of water every day. If you don’t like water because it is boring, add lemons or limes or whatever other fruit you prefer, but get the water in. With the summer heat right around the corner getting your water intake to the recommended levels is even more important to prevent dehydration.
Go to SLEEP!
Turn off the TV, the iPad, the iPhone… all of those distractions and go to sleep! Adults need 7 – 9 hours of sleep to function properly. Lack of sleep leads to a number of problems, many of which we will discuss on a different day, but one of them is that it changes the way your body functions metabolically… which translates into either gaining weight or making it difficult to lose weight.
Stay off of the Scale!
Women, this is mostly for you. It’s tough. We have grown accustomed to relying on a number on a machine to determine where we fit. But stop obsessing with it. Focus on the other victories… How do your clothes fit? How are you feeling? How is your energy levels? How are you sleeping?