05 May Dieting Tips for a Quicker Summer Shape-Up
For all us procrastinators—those among us who can’t stick to a New Year’s resolution no matter how hard we try—all we need is a little health-minded kick-starter to get us motivated for beach season (which is just a few weeks away, by the way). As such, with this entry, I’m offering some easy, simple, diet-related tips to help get you excited about exposing those killer abs when you go shirtless this season in the summer sun.
If you’re trying to build and strengthen your midsection, what you put inside is so important; in fact, what you eat is every bit as important as the workouts you do—some even argue diet is more important. As you get caught up in the hustle-bustle rush of everyday life, Cheetos and fast food might seem like your go-to, best friends.
However, it’s important to always read the fine print—nutrition labels. And although these “friends” may satisfy a certain need, in the long run, poor dietary habits (e.g., Taco Bell, Cheetos, Snickers, etc.) take a toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Over-processed foods, high-fructose and white-sugar carbs—we’re looking at you, and all your brethren and offspring, too. Instead of calling on these old friends, replace them in your daily intake with these super-duper, summer-ab-fueling foods. And remember to keep close watch on your overall calorie intake, too, according to your height, body weight, and goals. And please keep in mind that eating between 5-6 daily includes a snack each day.
Lean Body Protein
When you’re working to build muscle and tone, protein is key. Protein builds and recovers our muscles from workouts. Since protein is also a “thermogenic food,” it offers a serious boost to your metabolism, too (YAY!)! When your diet is high in protein, your body is more likely to use body-fat as fuel.
One vital component of successful weight loss is to lower your consumption of carbohydrates. Certainly, the right carbs in proper amounts are necessary for fueling daily life and its myriad activities and obligations. In fact, cutting carbs completely would be difficult to the point of impossible. However, depending on your workouts and your genetics, healthy carbs might well be the difference between washboard abs and beach-ball-belly. What foods provide healthy carbs? Excellent question. Here are several:
- Whole grains (breads, pastas, cereals—look for foods with “whole grain” on the label)
- Sweet potato
This is far, far from an all-inclusive list. Rather, it represents some of the best options and some of my personal preferences.
A moderate amount of fats is necessary for the production of certain important hormones essential to healthy metabolism. Some ultra-healthy fat-containing foods include:
- Nut butters
- Coconut oil
So be quick: Put down that cheeseburger—now! Grab some avocados instead and start eating!
Tips for Healthy, Shiny Summer Skin
Intense summer heat means increased sweating. I recommend washing your face twice daily—especially during the height of summer. Strive for the least chemical-laden cleanser possible. You want your skin to be clean and fresh, but that means not stripping away all its nutrients. Harsh chemicals can damage your skin more than they benefit it. Be gentle to your skin.
Exfoliators remove dead skins cells and will prevent ingrown hairs when you shave. If you have oily skin, exfoliate twice a week, and once a week if you have dry skin.**
Summer sun and wind take a lot out of your skin. And even the most natural cleanser will strip away some natural nutrients. Thus, it’s important to feed your skin what you take out. Remember: If you suffer from oily skin, that doesn’t mean moisturizing isn’t right for you! That’s a big, common misconception. Adding moisture to oily skin prevents it from needing to make oil on its own. Keeping skin moisturized also helps prevent cracking.**
Sunscreen is, in essence, your skin’s best friend. Keep plenty of sunscreen on hand when spending time in the sun. Remember: Excessive sun exposure without sunscreen can lead to skin and health problems, as well as premature aging and sunspots. A sunscreen with a 15 or 30 SPF rating quite sufficient if applied generously and continuously (sunscreen tends to wear off after two hours).
**Use products made for your face and NOT for your body. The skin on your body carries a different consistency and is thinner (Fun fact: Your chest is also made up of thin skin).
Clean eating can help get you started on your summer journey. According to Best Health Magazine, there is a strong connection between food and mood. Eating clean (e.g., no fast food, over processed food, over salted food, bad-carb-laden food, etc.) can boost and maintain healthy metabolism, hormones, and neurotransmitters (chemicals that affect mood in the brain). In turn, the food mentioned above also influences concentration, energy levels, and emotions (in a happy way!).
Stay tuned for next week’s blog on exercises to boost your summer bod (because dad bods are always out of style).