The kids are back to school and there seems to be so much talk about the kids having experienced the “summer slide”. Not being attentive to reading and math over summer makes their academic smarts fall back a notch or two. It reminds me of all the hard work that we put into our health throughout the year “getting ready for summer”, only to overindulge with all the cookouts and vacation time, and put on extra pounds by eating and drinking what we like. Don’t get me wrong. I’m guilty of this too.
This summer I put in a concerted effort for this not to happen. Protein shakes for breakfast. Salads for lunch. Trying to do my best to eat healthy dinners. I have changed my lifestyle so that I now live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, I am being mindful about what I eat, and 20% of the time, I can eat in a more relaxed way.
So now that summer is over, what can you do to climb back up to the top of the slide?
7 EASY TIPS FOR LOSING THE SUMMER POUNDS
1. DRINK MORE WATER
There are many health benefits to drinking water. Your digestive system depends on it to function. Dehydration can lead to constipation and an overly acidic stomach. Drinking more water can also aid in weight loss, when you drink water 30 minutes before a meal. Your brain thinks you are full therefore you eat less. .
2. GET MOVING
Exercising regularly can help with weight loss, increases your energy levels, improve your sleep, improves your mood and even improves your sex life! (What’s not to love?)
3. LIMIT ALCOHOL
I know this seems obvious, but a glass of wine or a beer contains “empty calories” that have no nutritional value. Drinking alcohol reduces the amount of fat that your body burns for energy. While we can store nutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins, we can’t store alcohol. So our system wants to get rid of it and that takes priority. All the other systems taking place are interrupted.
4. EAT CLEAN
Avoid highly processed packaged foods. Usually they are high in salt, sugar and fat. If you fill up on “clean foods” then you have effectively “crowded out” the unhealthy foods by leaving no room for them in your stomach.
5. INCREASE YOUR INTAKE OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
The minimum recommended amount according to the CDC is 1 ½ cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day, but we should aim for more than this. A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with fruits or vegetables for every meal.
6. ELIMINATE SUGARY DRINKS
Sugary drinks have no nutritional value and the sugar leads to weight gain and many health problems.
7. SLEEP WELL AND AVOID STRESS
When you are sleep deprived, the body releases the appetite regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin, and when you are stressed, the hormone cortisol is released. These hormones can increase hunger and cravings for unhealthy foods, leading to higher calorie intake. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity.
If making these changes seems like a big challenge, don’t worry. Making small incremental changes daily, will eventually lead to the big changes that you are wanting to make. Making small achievable goals, gives you a greater chance of success.
Silvia Anderson is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she now lives in Middletown with her husband and two children.
For more information and to join her free 5 Day Detox starting September 2nd, please visit www.silviaanderson.com/free-5-day-detox