Don’t worry – you still have time.
Just because you haven’t fulfilled your New Year’s resolution of losing weight yet doesn’t mean you can’t do it this year. In fact, choosing to lose weight during the summer can actually be beneficial to your weight-loss goals.
Yes, you’re busy with the kids being out of school and planning for vacations. But it doesn’t have to be complicated.
There’s no need for math to figure out how many calories you should or should not be eating. You don’t have to log every food you eat and its calories. Just ask yourself, “How much do I usually eat?” Pay attention during meals to make yourself aware of exactly how much you’re consuming.
Cut down on what you consume. Even if you make healthier food choices, you won’t see a difference if you’re still taking in too much. Check out the US Department of Agriculture’s guide on correct portion sizes. It may not be completely accurate for your needs, but it’s eye-opening.
Healthy eating also means changing what you eat. Of course you want to swap carrot or celery sticks for potato chips, but you need to go beyond snacks.
When planning meals, add more fruits and vegetables. Keep your starches, such as a bread, rice, and pasta, to a minimum so you’re more inclined to eat the fruits and vegetables. And focus on eating more lean meats such as poultry or seafood. Use this booklet from the US Department of Health and Human Services to find more ideas for healthy eating habits.
Dr. Robert Glass of the Medical University of South Carolina recommends you exercise for 150 minutes or more per week.
I know, 150 is a big number.
So let’s break it down. That’s only 21.428 minutes a day. Can you think of a way to fit just a little over 20 minutes of walking or yoga into your day? You could even spend that time weeding your garden.
A study found that drinking about 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal helped the participants lose more weight. The water helps you feel fuller, so you stop eating sooner.
There are many other benefits to drinking water, too, such as keeping your body temperature regulated (important when working out in the summer heat). And some of the joint or back pain that’s preventing you from exercising may be caused by dehydration.
How many times have you scarfed down a meal while doing other tasks? That may be contributing to your weight, as you tend to eat more in these situations without realizing it.
So take the time to sit and enjoy your meal. You’ll probably find that you start feeling full long before you’ve eaten all of the food on your plate. Eating like this might help lower your stress levels, too.
Before you get started, remember this: don’t fall into the trap of losing weight too quickly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the ideal number for losing weight is one to two pounds per week. You’re more likely to keep it off when you aim for this amount.
Your body will feel benefits from even small numbers. Pick up an object that weighs five pounds. In just a month, you will be that much lighter.
The key to successful weight loss, however, is being aware that these changes are long-term. You can’t reach your goal and then go back to eating whatever you want. Sure, the occasional splurge is okay. But keeping the weight off means continuing to eat less and move more.