By Ashley Harvill, Dietetic Student
It’s that time—warm air, backyard barbecues and getting ready for the swimsuit season. It’s difficult to avoid the taunting images on magazine covers and department store commercials. This year, instead of hiding in cover-ups or avoiding outdoor parties, here are small, easy changes that can get you one step closer to being swimsuit ready.
- Eat a good breakfast. Eating a nutritionally balanced breakfast of lean protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats is a fantastic way to start your day. By not skipping breakfast, you can control weight more and have better performance throughout the day. Another benefit—you will be less ravenous at lunch because you are not working on an empty stomach. This will save calories in the long run and your stomach will thank you for not overindulging.
- Exercise. This one word carries so much weight! You don’t need to live at the gym to get ready to fit into that swimsuit or shorts and tank top. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (5 days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (3 days per week). Saying “NO” to one television show and taking a walk outside or playing with your kids at the park will not only burn calories but will boost mood and give you the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones.
- Eliminate one or two sugar filled drinks. If you survive off Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper or Red Bull and water intake is seriously lacking, try to replace 1-2 soft drinks/energy drinks with an 8 ounce glass of water. Take baby steps to cutting back on the sugar and adding water. Start off by replacing a full sugar drink with a diet drink for two weeks. Then, replace the diet drink with crystal light or tea for two weeks. Lastly, try drinking just water. You should notice weight loss just by cutting out sodas.
- Add more fruits and vegetables. Add a serving of fruits or vegetables at every meal and eat these first. Be realistic too. If you hate asparagus, don’t make yourself eat it. Eat something you like and periodically re-introduce it to your palate by cooking it different ways. Hopefully, your taste buds will adjust and you will love something you thought you hated.
- Take the stairs. Oh the dreaded stairs! We all know that taking the elevator is the easy way and you might need to get to your office faster; however, take a couple of minutes to get in the extra exercise. If feeling extra ambitious, walk up every other step to make your muscles work just a bit more. You can also use this time to clear your head and take a little break from all the hustle and bustle in the office.
- Create a food journal. This is a fantastic way to track what you eat, how much and how often. If you are tech savvy, use a website or application on your smart phone to track your food. This can really put into perspective how many calories you take in.
By incorporating these 6 steps hopefully you’ll be more confident
removing your swimsuit cover-up!