by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Slowly but surely, the days are growing shorter. Where are you with your summer weight-loss goals? Do you fit back into last year’s swimsuit yet? The clock is ticking …
This time of year is a rush. All the goals, promises, and commitments we spoke of in June need to be accomplished, and fast. If weight loss is on your summer to-do list, there is still time to shed unwanted pounds.
Take Advantage of August
Hot days require warm-weather attire. A chunky sweater can’t inspire weight loss like tank shirts, shorts, and swimsuits. If you find clothes are a little tighter than they were during springtime, don’t fear. Summer may bring an increase in activity, but it also has its share of diet pitfalls– barbequed food, salads with rich dressings, and milkshakes disguised as coffees and fruit smoothies. And then, there is ice-cold beer. Use the extra tug at the seams as a reminder to remain on your fitness journey.
On days when your Center workout is abbreviated, or not possible, take advantage of the Great Outdoors. A quick walk during a work break or after dinner can burn some bulge, even in three 15-minute sessions. Work in your garden, use a push mower to cut your lawn, swim, hike, play catch with the kids. Opportunities are plentiful this time of year.
Take advantage of relaxed schedules. Invite a friend or family member to exercise with you at the Center. Ask at the Front Desk for details. The Aquatics Department is offering a swim lesson package special. Take your workout to the pool.
Capitalize on the season’s perks to help get into the shape you want. Enjoy fresh fruit, local veggies, and mild weather. If you think sundaes are hard to resist, remember the “goodies of tomorrow” (holiday cookies, eggnog, and festive turkey dinners).
Inspiration of Olympic Proportions
If you sat in awe over the recent Olympic performances, it’s time to get mobile. Use those athletes’ performances as motivation to be your best self. Although we may not make a career out of our fitness endeavors, we can take tips from the pros. Workout with their intensity and watch extra pounds melt.
Here are some suggestions from Olympic athletes:
- During heavy training, get 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Schedule a short nap later in the day, if possible. The added rest replaces the need for caffeine during pre-event exertion. Rest periods are as important as the workouts. They refresh your body and your passion for health.
- Go green. Recently, kale was acknowledged as one of the best foods on earth. Make it a dietary staple. Indulge in fresh produce to create meals and wholesome smoothies. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruits of the season. Try your skill at a late-summer or fall vegetable garden. Avoid processed foods and carbs. Spend the extra money on fresh, natural foods, which deliver prime nutrition. Your body will thank you with improved performance and decreased inflammation.
- Join Small Group Training. Benefit from a supportive group workout with few enough people to keep your program customized. If training for a specific event, invite others with similar goals to join you. It provides added motivation and better comprehension.
- Think like a competitor. When you aren’t on the Exercise Floor, others are. They are reaching goals, improving their performance, and sharpening skills. Heck, they are wearing your dream jeans. Get up before you miss out!
- Trick yourself. It works for the pros. We’re all human so we all need the occasional push. Fitness success is largely based on attitude. Keep the momentum going year-round by habitually making healthy choices every day. A proper breakfast, a morning stretch routine, one less cup of caffeine– these are small but significant ways to continuously feel “in the game” of fitness. One healthy deed turns another.
Drink Plenty of Water
Those who replace sugary drinks with water and calorie-free options are proven to lose weight twice as fast as their sugar-chugging counterparts. A study of 300 overweight or obese individuals showed those who replaced highly caloric drinks with water were twice as likely to lose five percent or more of their body weight than those in the control group.
This trick alone can help you lose five pounds over six months, providing you don’t replace with unhealthy calories elsewhere in your diet. Soda is not the only culprit. Avoid lemonades, juices, and store-made ice teas, which are often loaded with sugar.
Beware of hunger pangs. About 75 percent of the time, people mistake thirst for hunger. Try quenching thirst first. Often, a refreshing glass of water can stave off cravings and satisfy what was thought to be hunger. Add a slice of fresh lime, lemon, or cucumber. Try hot water with lemon, which also helps aid digestion.
Be Sure to Eat Enough
Everyone knows the importance of eating three meals a day. Break this into six small meals for a healthy way to curb cravings and lose weight. Blood sugar levels fluctuate less and snacking is replaced with mini-meals. You’re less likely to visit the vending machine for a “mini-meal.”
If you cut too many calories from your daily diet, the body enters “starvation mode.” Experts advice not consuming less than 1200 calories a day or the body will begin storing calories instead of burning them.
You don’t have to be an athlete, Olympic or otherwise, to exercise like one. Dedicate yourself to a variety of exercises every day. The Center offers options for every skill level, goal, and mood. (Hey, some days you may just want to swim laps and other days your inner star wants to shine in a Group Fitness class.)
Check with a personal trainer or Group Fitness instructor to determine which activities will give you the most efficient, effective results. As you lose weight, work with staff to maintain the loss. The body has a natural tendency to recognize lost weight and works to gain it back. (Talk about inner conflict.) Remain committed to an evolving plan that continues to gain results and lose pounds.
After all, everyone can lose weight in the summer. Right?
“Healthy Eating Secrets and Motivation Tips from Olympic Athletes,” by Colleen Moody at www.fitnessmagazine.com.
“How to Lose Those Last 10 Pounds,” by Madeline Vann at www.everydayhealth.com.
Summer trail: http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/35458350/
Olympic inspiration: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anhonorablegerman/6819888515/
Lemon water: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chad_k/2973974552/