Spring is here and summer is around the corner, which means beach, bikinis, and bare abs. Want to lose weight and be healthier at the same time? No problem -- it’s part mental preparation, part diet, and part fitness. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but here are some easy tips to help get you started.
1. Prioritize by separating into big and little goals… Think of big goals as your overarching goal (e.g., lose 30 lbs in 3 months) and your little goals as those you want to meet on a short term basis (e.g., lose 5 lbs in 2 weeks).
2. Make performance-based weight loss goals… Saying "I want to lose weight" will not cut it. You need to choose what ideal weight you want to achieve and set a time frame for when you want to achieve it.
3. Make a positive statement about your goal… If you want to eat healthier and lose weight, make a positive statement like "I will eat more fruits" rather than a negative statement "I will not eat refined sugar."
4. Picture you at your ideal weight… What do you look like when you are 30 lbs thinner? What type of jeans would you look good in? Picture that image of a thinner you before going to sleep every night.
5. Find a new healthy snack… Who doesn't love a great snack? How about making it a healthy snack? A good place to start is with nuts and berries. Berries -- like Goji berries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, and cherries -- offer some definite health benefits.
6. Eat more plants… Take a suggestion from author Michael Pollan as he famously wrote in the beginning of his book, In Defense of Food -- "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
7. Eat more frequently… Go for 6 small meals rather than the standard 3 meals. And if you must stick to three meals then eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. And don't eat 3 hours before you go to bed.
8. Drink more water… Some experts say to drink eight 8oz glasses of water each day. Water keeps you hydrated, it helps flush out toxins and it’s simply good for you.
9. Find a new healthy drink… Instead of having an artificially sweetened or alcoholic beverage, why not try out a new healthy beverage today? To get started, you might want to try out kombucha or coconut water.
10. Find an exercise you love and do it… It’s hard to commit to something on a daily basis, so if you don’t love it, don’t do it. Find something you love, whether it’s running, lifting weights, boxing,
yoga, Pilates, or anything that you have an interest in. Again, if you don’t love it, don’t do it. And if you do it, you need to do it at least three times a week.
11. Give yoga a whirl… Yes, the right yoga class can be great for weight loss. In fact, a man in Detroit lost over 360 pounds and he credits his weight loss success to yoga. And how does increased flexibility and strength sound? Or if you’re a guy reading this, I’ll get right to the point: the female to male ratio in your average yoga class is definitely in your favor. If you’re a newbie I suggest checking out these beginner yoga poses so you’ll know what’s going on in your first class.
12. Make an exercise date… Are you making plans to meet a friend this weekend? Here's an idea: In lieu of meeting up for coffee or a cocktail, make it an exercise-themed date. Go for a long walk or run, hit the gym or practice yoga together and make catching up a healthy activity together. It's easier to be healthy when you have a friend alongside you, so maybe even consider making your exercise dates a monthly ritual. (Then go for the drink or coffee after.)
13. Go for a long walk… A 30-minute brisk walk can burn up to 250 calories. If the weather outside is terrible then hit up the mall and go for a fast-paced stroll.
14. Take the stairs… Maybe it's just a few flights – it's better than nothing. It's great for your legs, and if you go more than a few flights, you'll get that heart rate of yours going.