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Simple tips for a summer slim down

Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

Many people look forward to the summer season as a time to reduce their weight, tone their body and improve overall health and energy. After surviving the brutally cold winter we had, the current weather is a wonderful change and sets the stage for working on your health. Here are a few summer slim down tips:

Daily Activity

Plan to do at least 10 minutes of exercise every day. A 10-minute brisk walk, bike ride, or swim can help give your metabolism a boost as well as establishing the habit of daily exercise. Once the habit is set, increase the duration of exercise. Keep an exercise log to keep yourself accountable. As well as the daily exercise, be extra-active all day. Whether it is doing housework, gardening, walking instead of driving to the store, or playing with kids and grandkids; every minute of movement adds up.

Increase Fruits and Vegetables

Take advantage of the variety of fresh produce that will be sprouting up at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients and low in calories, so fill up half your plate with these beauties. They are filling and satisfying. Vary the cooking methods of grilling, roasting and steaming, to help prevent boredom. Adding a large green salad to your meal or as a snack is a great way to promote weight loss. Be careful of the toppings. After the addition of cheese, meat, croutons and salad dressings, your “low-calorie” salad could have as many calories as a double cheeseburger.

Be Smart About Beverages

The summer heat brings thirst and more thirst. It is important to quench the thirst with water, water and more water. Some individuals will easily consume 1,000 calories or more daily from beverages that are full of sugar. Drink as much plain water as you can, and when you need a little excitement; add slices of lemon, cucumber, strawberries and whatever other fruits and vegetables you have on hand, to the plain water. It is refreshing and very low in calories. Lemon & Cucumber Water: Combine 1 gallon cold water, 2-3 slices fresh lemon and 2-3 slices cucumbers in a pitcher and serve. For a stronger taste, let the water sit in your refrigerator for an hour prior to serving. 

Practice Smart Snacking

To reduce your weight, portion sizes usually need reduced as well. Using smaller plates can help and so can portion snack items in advance to help avoid overeating. It is too difficult to stop eating chips or cookies when the entire bag is sitting on your lap. Reducing weight and food portions are difficult enough. Make it easier by portioning out the snack and putting the rest in the cupboard. When choosing snacks, make sure the snack is going to give you some nutrition and energy. Healthy snack ideas include: fruit, nuts, string cheese, yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, tuna, peanut butter on celery or whole grain crackers, and raw veggies.

Sleep It Off

Read all the latest research on sleep and weight and you will discover that the less sleep you get, the more likely you are to be overweight. Summer is a very busy time of the year. Make healthy eating, exercise, and sleep a priority. Most adults need 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

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