Ah, sweet summer time where we all frantically try to shed all those winter layers about 3 months too late. Well, at least that's me. For example, I have a wedding in Bermuda next weekend. NEXT WEEKEND!! So here we go...
1. Wasted on Water
All those coffees and cocktails may be liquids, but sadly they are dehydrating, so be mindful of what and how much you’re consuming! Our bodies are made up of about 55% water and if you find yourself thirsty (not the rap kind), then your body is telling you you’re already dehydrated. Other signs can be headache or fatigue (eek!) Fact: being dehydrated actually causes your body to retain water in an effort to avoid further dehydration, aka water weight. Drinking more water can help your body let go of some of this water retention making you feel and look less bloated!
I know it seems hard to believe that just drinking water will help you slim down, but research shows that drinking water can increase your metabolism and over the course of the day increases energy expenditure (aka calories burned!). If you find yourself overeating during meals, try drinking water about 30 minutes prior to help reduce your chances of overeating.
The rule of thumb on hydration has always been Eight-8oz glasses per day, or more recently, I’ve heard ½ your body weight in onces, divided by 8 is how many 8oz glasses you should consume.
Find out how many glasses you need by following this formula:
Body weight: ______ (ex. 130lbs)
Body weight divided by 2:________ (ex 65lbs)
Above number divided by 8: ________ (ex 8.125oz)
Tips: Get yourself a reusable bottle like mine by Swell, that you can take with you in the car, to work, the gym and everywhere else! I saw my water intake increase 100% after incorporating my Swell bottle into my day. It’s easy to refill at the sink, water fountains, or fridge. Bonus, a aluminum bottle will keep your cold water COLD for up to 12 hours.
Challenge: Drink an 8oz glass of water first thing upon waking up in the morning...before you do anything else! Add a squeeze of lemon in it for added benefits!
2. So Long Sweets
Having your cake and eating it too is NOT all it’s cracked up to be. If I had my way, I’d be eating that cake for breakfast everyday but since this only leads to diabetes and weight gain, I know I have to reduce how much sugar is in my diet. There is probably an entire post in here just about sugar but I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. Studies have shown that sugar is as addictive as cocaine and it is important for us to realize that sugar IS a drug. Your “sweet tooth” is likely more your “addictive urge” begging to be fulfilled. As American’s we know it’s no mystery that we WAY over consume with things like sodas and candies but what you may not realize is just how much sugar is in those “healthy” yogurts, granola bars, juices and cereals. Keep one eye open to fake sugar as well. Things claiming to be lower than 100 calories but are key-lime pie flavored… not hard to crack that mystery. Check out the labels on what you’re picking up in the grocery store and be vigilant about just how much sugar you’re willing to consume for a healthy lifestyle.
Tips: For a quick way to cut loads of sugar from your diet, cut out soda and flavored coffees! If you’re not ready to go “cold turkey”, take it day by day and slowly reduce. If you have 3 sodas a day, have 2 tomorrow and 1 by next week until you’re ready to have maybe only one a week. I went from drinking soda 2-3 times a day to maybe 5 times a year and sugary coffee 5 days a week (adulting is hard…) to only the weekends!
Challenge: Replace cookies and candy for fruit and drink 1 less sugary beverage today.
3. Snack Smart
So maybe you’re not all about the sweets but you LOVE the salty. This can be a slippery slope from a handful of chips to a costco sized bag before you even realize it. If this is you, try swapping chips and other greasy snacks for roasted nuts like cashews or almonds (unsalted!). I use hummus and carrots to still get the crunch of a munch without overdoing it on salt or saturated fats. Another snack I’ve become obsessed with are these no-bake energy balls with only 4 ingredients! Once made, I store them in the fridge and reach for them when I’m headed for work or just before the gym. They’re a great source of protein and also hit that sweet spot of a snack.
Try and stay away from and snacks that are heavily processed (aka comes in a bag and is filled with preservatives). You’d be surprised how many things are on the shelf pushing their “healthy” agendas, but in reality aren’t so healthy (womp).
Additionally, most of the time we find ourselves craving a snack when we are bored. Try to fill these moments of boredom in other ways like a lap around the office or focusing on a task (or drink some water!) Also important to note, EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. Things like nuts and hummus are still high in fats, and yes, while these are good fats, they should still be consumed in moderation. It’s all about balance people.
Challenge: Trade your chips at lunch for a piece of fruit or veggies
4. Working on Workouts
Fitness isn’t easy. If it were, we’d all be fit! I’ll be the first to admit that consistency is not my strong suit and that when it comes to holding myself accountable, I fail more than I succeed. It’s just easier to tag my friends on fitness Instagrams with “is this me yet?” from the comfort of my bed, but I’ve found that this mentality just feeds a downward spiral of a lack of confidence and self loathing. I’ve even done things like unfollow every “aspirational” influencer on my Instagram to avoid having their abs rubbed in my face, in an effort to feel better about the lack of mine.
But on to staying motivated and positive- I am still working on nailing it, because admittedly, not there yet! If you’re like me, you get bored in the gym easily or maybe aren't sure about the machines or how to be using them. I am also pretty self conscious in the gym and don’t like the idea of wandering aimlessly trying to find the instruction manual on what seems like a 20 ton piece of steel. Sounds like I need a trainer, huh? Yea, so did I mention I’m also cheap? (well...on things that matter like my health) Anyway, I have relied on friends to help me with the basics on machinery and otherwise scoured the internet for information, tips, and workouts. Clearly, I’m not the authority on this and will never claim to be, this is just my honest confession.
So what do I recommend to help you stay consistent? Find the things that you enjoy. If you’re doing something you hate, you’ll feel less and less like doing it. For example, I don’t love to run, so instead I’ll sign up for a spin class, walk on an incline or spend time on the rowing machine as forms of cardio. When it comes to strength, I have found a mix of body weight and machinery exercises that I can do without wanting to cancel my gym membership forever. I enjoy these things even more when they can be done outside and since we’re embarking on summer, going for walks, hikes, biking or sports seem a lot more appealing! Currently, I’m on week 2 of Bikini Body Guide which is great because you can realistically do it anywhere with very little equipment required and a workout that’s only 30 minutes (not including warm ups or cool downs). I also love these Popsugar Workout Videos on youtube because they’re pretty upbeat and and you can choose what you want to work out and for how long.
Challenge: Take the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator all week. Make a plan with a friend to do something active (example: walk, bike ride, hike etc.)
(I added this pic not because it's a great calf stretch, but because my butt looks great, and I'm going to take that as a win! It's all about celebrating where the pepperoni pizza landed ;))
5. No Meat Days
Maybe you’ve heard of “meatless Monday’s”, maybe you haven’t. As a meat eater, not eating meat is something I’d never even considered because I think of it as a main source of my daily protein, but after going to a charcuterie “event” and filling up on copious amount of cured meats, I was left feeling terrible, bloated and just all around sick. After doing a little research on meat and how it can be difficult for our bodies to process when consumed to excess or so frequently, I decided that I would try 3 days without meat (knowing that I had no intentions of becoming a vegetarian). I still got plenty of protein by eating things like eggs and nuts and still ate fish. I have to say, I noticed an IMMEDIATE difference in my body. My bloating went down within those 3 days and I was feeling great. I feared that I may have less energy for the gym but surprisingly had no issues. I slowly incorporated meat back into my diet but have made a conscious effort to reduce just how much I consume. For example, skip the bacon and sausage at breakfast if you plan on having a burger for lunch and Chicken parmesan for dinner. In my experience, the body does not need meat at every meal and has a hard time breaking it down. I also found that if I saved meat for earlier meals earlier in the day, I got a better night’s rest, as my body wasn’t having to work to digest so much just before bed.
Challenge: Go 1 day without meat, just to see how you like it. If nothing else, it will be an eye opening experience to just how much meat you might typically consume in a day. If you don’t feel comfortable going an entire day without meat, then try limiting it to just one meal and see if how you feel! As all other things, you do what works best for YOU.
Disclaimer: I am not a fitness or health professional and will never claim to be. If there is anything I’m doing that you don’t agree with or maybe doesn't work for you, that's OK! “You do you, and imma do me” and stuff… If you have any POSITIVE ideas you’d love to share with everyone, please do so in the comments below and I will be excited to see/try them!
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