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May 25, 2011

Bikini Season: Top 5 Dont’s this Summer :)

Ok, so not to start off the summer with a negative tone, but let’s be honest, there are some behaviors that are more effective than others when it comes to fat loss.  And sorry to say it, but some behaviors simply will not get results, period. No matter how much we wish they did (“skinny margaritas”, anyone?).  However, it is beach and BBQ season, so we have to have a little fun, but don’t forget everything you learned about the fat loss lifestyle!  Here are my Top 5 “Don’ts” for this summer (taking into account the need to ENJOY yourself too!), if you want to stay lean and energized.

#1: Don’t skimp on your workouts. I know it may be tempting to skip workouts as the longer days are pulling you outside after work for terrace drinks and late dinners, BUT, research shows that exercise is the #1 way to help maintain (not attain!) your weight. Which means that skimping on workouts plus calorie-and-carb heavy drinks is a doublely-fast way to put on the pounds.  I suggest sticking to at least 4 days a week of weight-training-centered workouts, plus 2-3 days of HIIT cardio per week. I know it may seem like a lot, but 30 minutes a day, 5-6 days per week is little investment for the kind of toned body you can walk around with all summer.

#2: Don’t forget to up your hydration. Summer months bring more heat and humidity, all the more reason to replenish and hydrate with plain, old water. Plus, being out in the sun more can dehydrate skin and hair. Making sure you consume at least 3 liter of PLAIN water per day, more if possible, will help speed the metabolism and keep you feeling fuller for longer (I add another liter for each non-water drink I have, like coffee or Sobe Life Water).  When I am craving, I start by downing at least 20 oz of water and then I wait. I usually feel full and sloshy enough that I am not even craving anymore.  Consider that drinking more water actually helps you shed more water too–if you are dehydrated, you are more likely to adopt that puffy, bloated look as your body retains.

#3: Don’t do starch AND booze together. For me, this is a hard and fast rule, all year long. My father-in-law makes his own red wine, in which I enjoy indulging every once in a while but I always make it a point to skip all carbs when indulging.  Carbs + alcohol = disaster in terms of water retention, stalling fat loss and when indulged consistently can put on the pounds quicker than you can say “on the rocks.”  Happy hour? Fine, but skip the bread basket and it is ideal to keep the drinks to 2 max. In case you missed it, here is the JillFit recipe for a sugar-free mojito.  Of course, the alcohol is metabolized in a way that can be even more detrimental than carbs, but at least the fixings are a little bit healthier. YUM!

#4: Don’t starve yourself. We used to do this in college, right? It’s Friday and we know we are going out tonight–so we cut back on portions all day, workout extra hard and “save up” our cals for an evening of drinking?  Or was it just me? :) Anywho! Just because you have a big party/BBQ/vacation/picnic/family reunion later in the day doesn’t mean you should cut calories and portions earlier in the day so that you can go guilt-free at the event. Practice preemptive eating earlier in the day so that by the time the time comes around for the party, you are already feeling satisfied, full and do not feel the need to overindulge.  I think many times we use events as an excuse to “let loose” when really we end up feeling even worse/more guilty after the indulgence and wish we stuck to our clean eats instead.

#5: Don’t worry so much about fatty foods. Yes, you read that right. Choosing fat instead of starch will help most people maintain their weight throughout the summer.  The truth is that at summer events we are going to be surrounded by lots of crappy food so some indulge will occur, so choose less crappy foods over more crappy foods :) Here are some examples:

  • Choose a burger with veggies and avocado, no bun
  • Choose chicken wings over bready apps
  • Choose caesar salad over fries
  • Choose nuts mixes over chips
  • Choose hot dogs and sausages (no buns) over sandwiches
  • Choose a cobb salad over sandwiches
  • Choose coleslaw over pasta (or potato) salad
  • Choose fruit salad (with a dollop of whipped cream even) over cakes and cookies
  • Choose sugar-free ice cream and frozen yogurt varieties over regular versions

Would love to hear what tips and tricks you all use to maintain a balanced approach throughout the summer! Enjoy and good luck! ox Jill

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