If you delayed your summer diet until the last possible second- or later, there's still hope. By following some simple rules, you can lose a few pounds in a week or two and look better in a swimsuit or shorts. The two basic rules are obvious – exercise more and eat less. Here are 11 tips for summer weight loss to help you formulate a quick summer diet plan that works.
1. Avoid Beans and Other Belly-Bloating Foods, Eat Breakfast and Spicy Fare Instead
Eat a big breakfast if you want to lose weight. Research shows people who eat breakfast .tend to be slimmer than those who don't. A broccoli or spinach omelet, unsweetened oatmeal or groat with strawberries or fresh apple slices or a whole wheat English muffin with turkey ham and a poached egg are a few healthy choices for summer breakfast.
If you want to get a slimmer belly fast, avoid beans, lentils, artificial sweeteners, and chewing gum, which cause bloating. Drink water instead of diet soda. Water helps fiber move through the digestive system, preventing the bloating and constipation that can add a few extra pounds to your midsection.
2. Eat and Drink for More Energy and Less Fat
Speed up your metabolism by drinking green tea, which contains safe energy boosters and aids fat oxidation. It releases caffeine little by little, giving you a slow but steady buzz all day. This helps you increase exercise and physical activity without forcing it – you'll develop energy naturally.
Chili peppers and other spicy foods rev up your energy and suppress appetite. In a study conducted at UCLA's Center for Human Nutrition, one group of subjects received a placebo pill while the second group received a capsaicin tablet. (Capsaicin is the substance that gives chili peppers their spicy, hot flavor.) The group receiving the capsaicin supplements burned between 100 and 200 more calories a day than the control group, and burned more fat hours after each meal. Turmeric, the yellow spice used in many Indian dishes, may curb weight gain and prevent the growth of fat tissue, according to a study completed at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
3. Wearing Skimpier Outfits Encourages You to Lose Weight
Wearing a bikini or barely there shorts in public can be more daunting than disrobing in front of a new love interest. The idea of wearing skimpy clothes is intimidating if you're overweight, but it can inspire you to get serious about summer weight loss. Even if you didn't get a head start on losing weight for beach season, you can shed a few pounds in 1-2 weeks by eating less and exercising.
4. A Wheatgrass Supplement Will Speed Your Metabolism and Help with Summer Weight Loss
Drinking wheatgrass juice or taking a wheatgrass supplement tablet provides your body with hundreds of nutrients. Wheatgrass is powered by chlorophyll, the pigment that makes plants green. Chlorophyll turns carbohydrates into glucose to increase your energy, and tones intestinal and stomach muscles to give you a leaner look. The health benefits of wheatgrass go beyond increased energy and potential fat-burning. The chlorophyll in wheatgrass is one of nature's most potent sources of magnesium, which is necessary for proper muscle function, heart health and better bones.
5. Go on a Mediterranean Diet
The standard American diet of meat, fried foods, salty snacks and processed foods is out of the question if you want to look good in a swimsuit. The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the traditional cuisine of Southern Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal. Residents of these countries base their diet around fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains, with fish and poultry included two or more times a week. Red meat is limited to a few meals a month, and red wine can be enjoyed with (or without) meals. Olive oil is used for cooking and sauces instead of butter. Yogurt and cheese, along with other dairy products, are consumed in moderation.
The emphasis on fruits and vegetables in the Mediterranean diet increases the amount of free-radical fighting antioxidants you consume while reducing calories. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that 30% of strokes, heart attacks and deaths from heart disease can be prevented by eating a Mediterranean diet instead of one heavy on meat, refined flour and processed foods. Increase your chances of summer weight loss and better heart health with the Mediterranean diet.
6. Drink More Water and Less Alcohol
It may be tempting to have a beer or strawberry margarita when it's sweltering out, but alcohol is one of the worst drinks for your weight and health during the dog days of summer. It's high in calories, and dehydrates you just when you need more water in your system to counteract the heat. Drink water and iced herbal tea when you're thirsty. Skip the diet soda – recent research indicated that people who drank diet soda regularly over a nine year span gained three times as much belly fat as people who didn't drink it.
Swap whipped cream topped coffee drinks for unsweetened black coffee or green tea for a caffeine rush. You'll save calories and get energized in small, barely noticeable increments instead of one big rush. Instead of drinking chilled fruit juice, eat the actual fruit. You'll get more nutrients - the skin of an apple or other fruit contains most of the fiber, vitamins and minerals. Another fresh fruit plus for summer dieters – it has fewer calories than most fruit juice. Some manufacturers may add artificial ingredients to fruit juice or “water it down”, so you're better off eating fresh fruit.
7. Exercise in the Great Outdoors
In 2012, Americans exercised more – an average of three or more days per week according to a Gallup poll. (The exercise statistics went down in 2013). Why were they so high in 2012? The hot weather may have had a lot to do with it. People exercise more in the spring and summer due to the warm weather, and if hot temperatures extend into fall and winter, they exercise even more. Walking, jogging and biking outdoors free of charge in the park is a more attractive alternative than using the elliptical machine at the gym – and paying a hefty fee for it. Exercising in the great outdoors may also be good for your mental health. Sunshine is the main source of Vitamin D. You absorb Vitamin D from sunlight through your skin when you exercise outdoors. Lack of Vitamin D is associated with depression and mood disorders, and getting more sunshine lifts your spirits while exercise contributes to summer weight loss.
Outdoor activity in the summer has another weight loss advantage. Swimming, jogging, walking or playing sports in hot weather will help you burn more fat than exercising indoors or in cool weather. People who worked out in hot weather ate less after exercising than people who worked out in a cool environment, according to a 2013 study. Hot weather reduces your appetite, and exercising in hot weather may reduce it even more.
8. Eat Summer Fruits and Veggies
Hot weather dulls the appetite so you don't eat as much, but when you do eat, stick to light fare. Eat grilled zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, carrots or bell peppers at a barbecue instead of burgers or hot dogs. You can use these grilled vegetables in tacos, pitas, frittatas and pasta. Veggies are low in calories and high on vitamins and antioxidants. Snack on watermelon, apples, and strawberries (without sugar and whipped cream) and resist the urge to binge on high-calorie ice cream treats. Lowfat frozen yogurt or plain vanilla ice cream with fresh fruit toppings are healthy cold treats for summer weight loss.
Grapefruit and watermelon are low calorie treats, both full of Vitamin C to help the body burn fat faster. Vitamin C guards against the common cold and has plenty of additional benefits, including preventing glaucoma, cataracts and gum disease. A half grapefruit has 50 calories; a cup of diced watermelon has 46 calories. Both fruits have a high water content to hydrate you and fill you up to prevent overeating. Celery, strawberries and cantaloupe are other low-calorie, high water content foods for summer weight loss. (Grapefruit may interfere with some medications, including statins used for high cholesterol. Check with your doctor about possible interactions if you are on prescription medication.)
All raw (not canned or processed) fruits and veggies are good for your summer weight loss plan. Choose your favorites from your local farmer's market for freshness and a better selection.
9. Shut Off SmartPhones, TVs and iPads During Meals
When you concentrate on your food and eat slowly, you'll feel satisfied when the meal is over. If you're texting or browsing the net on your iPhone, you'll either eat too much- or not enough to satisfy your hunger. According to a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who played a computer game while eating were less likely to remember what they'd eaten and still had cravings afterward. Being preoccupied during a meal may lead to unhealthy binging later.
10. Sip Some Chilled Soup
Chilled cucumber or gazpacho soup with spices and freshly-cut vegetables are great for summer weight loss. If you eat cold soup as an appetizer, it will fill you up so eat less of the main course. The idea is similar to drinking water before a meal- the liquid fills up your stomach so you won't overeat. Try chilled Spanish-style tomato soup, made with pureed garlic, almonds, olive oil and bread, and chilled until served. Watermelon gazpacho soup, chilled melon soup and spiced blueberry soup are just a few other delicious chilled soups good for snacks or a light meal. Many chilled soup recipes call for ginger, cayenne pepper and turmeric and other spices. These high-nutrient, low-calorie spices do more than add flavor to meals. They can boost mood and offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
11. Leave Carbohydrates on the Shelf – Eat Low Fat Protein Instead
Burn fat and build more muscle by increasing your protein consumption. A study published by The FASEB Journal cited a study in which three groups of dieters consumed different amounts of protein. All groups lost the same amount of weight, but the group that ate twice the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein lost more fat than the other groups. You don't need to eat burgers or steaks to double up your protein – try these low-calorie foods instead.
Protein packed shrimp is low in calories and you can serve it many delicious ways for summer weight loss. Make Shrimp Pad Thai with peanuts, lime and cilantro or a 129 calorie shrimp stack with Greek yogurt, avocado, lime juice and jalapeño sauce on a rye flatbread. Stir-fried ginger shrimp with chile paste and jasmine rice is another healthy choice.
Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt -17 grams per container to 9 grams in a container of regular yogurt. It contains essential amino acids, calcium and Vitamin D – and it's a good choice for summer weight loss with only 100 calories in a small container.
A can of tuna packed in water is cheap and contains 39 grams of protein. Serve it on rice cakes or whole grain crackers for a snack or fix a sandwich using Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise as a dressing. A three ounce serving of canned tuna has 99 calories.
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