With summer creeping up on us and creeping fast, we’re all begrudgingly jumping into the usual frantic routine of getting our “beach bodies” ready. Usually this means starving ourselves, increased exercise and hitting the tanning bed. We may drop a couple pounds, but are we making the healthiest decisions?
The reason so many young women take this route when preparing to wear that amazing Victoria’s Secret swimsuit ordered back in February is the lack of time to make a healthier choice. Here are five easy changes we can make in our every day life to help prepare us for hitting the beach or flaunting our bodies poolside this summer:
Start every day with something for breakfast! We’ve all heard this from our mothers a million times, but maybe we are making this a bigger deal than it should be. Breakfast can be as simple as a smoothie and a granola bar that you grab as you walk out the door- it still counts! Eating that first meal of the day before you go off to work or school will not only help you focus, but it will also jump start your metabolism. If we get our metabolism up and running early in the day, it will work more in our favor—helping us to burn more calories.
When you snack, snack smart! Try pre-packaging a snack at home before you sail off for the day. Prepare the snacks the night before just after dinner, while you’re still full; so you won’t be tempted to pack too much. By taking these pre-packaged snacks with you, you won’t be tempted to grab a supersize fry from McDonald’s…
Also, know what a serving size is! Take a minute to go online and look up what a serving size is for basic, everyday foods you eat (choosemyplate.gov is a great place to look). Most of the time, we eat bigger servings than are necessary and we see those extra calories sitting where we don’t want them to (like the waistline and the hips).
Join some sort of physical activity club. Whether it be the gym down the street, a yoga class, a bowling league, or the ladies who walk around your neighborhood together all the time, any physical exercise is good. By joining up with your peers to exercise, you feel the need to show up once or twice a week not only for you personally, but for them as well. Research has shown that walking for just 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of heart disease and can burn off a ton of calories! A 30 minute walk around the mall isn’t hard at all.
Last but not least, eat a small salad of mixed greens before dinner every night. This has two major benefits. First, this will get us in the habit of getting at least one full serving of veggies in our diet on a daily basis. Leafy greens are a great source of fiber, which provides our bodies with a great energy source with very few calories. Second, this little salad will take the edge off your growling tummy and you will eat your dinner slower, preventing the “I’m so full I want to explode” feeling.
Most of us have only a limited time to eat our meals, so we eat fast and usually overeat because our body hasn’t sent the signal that it is full quick enough. When you eat slower, you give your body time to recognize that it has had enough and you don’t have room for an extra scoop of mac’n’cheese after all. If you don’t have time to make a little salad, drinking a glass of water before a meal will also help prevent overeating as well.
Hopefully these few little tips will be easy to remember and help us make better decisions while prepping for fun in the sun.