Confession: I have gained a bit of weight over the summer. Ugh.
Am I concerned? Not really.
Although I have kept active over the summer, my indulgences have finally caught up to me. Vacations, dinners out, drinks in the backyard… well, let’s just say there have been more calories in than out.
Worth it? Yes!
My clothes are a bit tighter and I’m not feeling as comfortable as I’d like to, but I’m not too worried about it. Why? Because I know how to safely and gradually get back to my comfortable weight without depriving myself of foods that I love. If your summer indulges have added up and you’re feeling the same way as I am, read on for tips on how to lose weight the healthy way.
Remember- it’s normal to gain a few pounds over the summer and gradually make your way back down to your ideal weight. It’s not normal to have huge fluctuations in weight as a result of yo-yo dieting.
Related: diets don’t work.
Top 10 Ways to Safely Lose Weight
Tip #1: Always eat a healthy breakfast. We all know how important this meal is. And when it comes to losing weight, it’s essential. Kick start your metabolism within an hour of waking up with a balanced breakfast that includes protein, fruits/veggies and a whole grain.
Tip#2: Eat every 3-4 hours and don’t skip meals or snacks. Sumo wrestlers leave huge gaps in between meals. Unless you’re planning on taking up Sumo Wrestling, make sure to eat approximately every 3-4 hours by inserting healthy snacks in between meals if they are longer than 4 hours apart. This will prevent overeating at meal times and excessive evening snacking.
Tip #3: Don’t diet! Like I said, diets don’t work. Period.
Tip #4: Pile the veggies high. Veggies are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. They are low in calories yet very filling. My rule of thumb is to make sure that about 50% of lunch and supper consists of veggies. For example, enjoy a sandwich packed full of veggies with carrot sticks on the side for lunch and then at dinner, start with a crisp salad and steam some asparagus as part of your main course.
Tip#5: Get more sleep. There is a lot of research showing a strong connection between lack of sleep and weight gain. When you don’t get enough z’s, your appetite hormones, namely Leptin and Ghrelin, become imbalanced and you are more apt to consume excess calories throughout the day. Aim for at least 7-8 hours per night.
Tip #6: Drink more water. Staying hydrated is important for many reasons, but when it comes to achieving a healthy weight, drinking enough water is key. Water helps the digestion process, and also helps us to feel fullness sooner during a meal. Oh, and it’s calorie-free!
Tip#7: Eat enough protein. Protein not only helps to build and repair our muscles and other body tissues, it is also slowly digested, therefore helps us to feel fuller sooner and for a longer period of time. Protein helps to stabilize our blood sugar level and controls our appetite during the day. Include protein in each meal and snack.
Tip #8: Get rid of processed, packaged snack foods. These foods (which in my opinion aren’t real foods anyway) tend to be high in calories, sugar, sodium, additives and preservatives AND low in fibre and nutritional value. A perfect storm for weight gain.
Tip#9: Don’t drink your calories. Avoid pop, juice, sports drinks, energy drinks and other high sugar beverages. These beverages are extremely high in, well, sugar (and calories) yet are not filling or satisfying. They also produce a spike in blood sugar level (and then drop), making us crave more sugar soon after. Focus more on water, milk, herbal teas and other unsweetened beverages to keep you hydrated. If you need some flavour, add some lemon, lime or cucumber to your water.
Tip#10: Get moving! Add some enjoyable activity to your day. Go for a brisk walk, take the stairs, go to a yoga class or dance in your living room. Whatever gets you moving in a fun way will help shed unwanted pounds.