Bathing suit season is here, and for many of us that means no longer being able to hide those extra pounds beneath a chunky sweater. Fortunately, there are some small and easily implemented lifestyle adjustments that can quickly shrink your waistline.
Here are 10 ways to slim down for swimsuit season. The best part? None involve the gym.
Plan ahead: Making meals ahead of time can save you calories in the long run. Try cooking up large-batch dinners over the weekend and simply reheat throughout the week. Lisa Lillien, author of the “Hungry Girl” Website, featuring advice on guilt-free eating, suggests emphasizing lean proteins and veggies. Commit time on the weekend to meal prep and all you have to do is throw the ingredients in the pan during the week.
Drink more: Water, that is. Staying hydrated is important for your overall body function and can prevent you from feeling hungry. Sometimes the body confuses dehydration with the sensation of hunger. This problem comes with an easy solution — drink more water. Bring a travel water bottle with you when you’re on the go so you can remember to stay hydrated.
Limit or avoid alcohol: Cutting out alcohol is one of the quickest ways to lose weight. Alcohol triggers a process in the body similar to sugar. It can set off the same insulin resistance that can cause weight gain. For six days of the week, cut out alcohol.
Snack on healthy foods: Keep a variety of healthy snacks around to satisfy cravings. Protein bars and nuts are great snacks that will satisfy your hunger and prevent you from making poor food decisions at meal times. Fresh fruit and veggies are another great snack option.
Banish stress: Maintaining a healthy diet isn’t about never indulging. It’s about eating healthy foods the majority of the time and treating yourself on occasion. Don’t stress out if you veer off course. Instead, do what you can to get back on track. Stress can actually be a source of weight gain, so try to focus on the positive.
Careful with carbs: Processed white carbs are a no-no. They spike blood sugar levels and cause the pancreas to produce insulin, which causes the accumulation of fat. Instead, opt for refined carbs like brown rice and oats.
Start with soup: According to research from Penn State University, soup is a great diet food. The combination of liquids and solids helps make you feel full faster. Eat it before a meal and you may be able to decrease your overall calorie intake by up to 20 percent.
Consider your coffee: Black coffee isn’t a diet buster — it’s the milk and sugar that go in it. A latte from your favorite coffee shop can be a hidden source of fat and calories. Try swapping your usual espresso for a plain black or green tea.
Stop multitasking: A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that multitasking while you eat will leave you feeling unsatisfied. Instead, slow down and enjoy your time savoring your meal without the distractions.
Spice it up: According to a recent study led by David Heber, a professor of medicine and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California-Los Angeles, capsaicin — the compound found in chili peppers — speeds metabolism and helps burn calories. Participants in the study were given a capsaicin supplement or a placebo for four weeks. The group who received capsaicin burned more fat for several hours after the meal for a total of 100 to 200 more calories a day. Spicy foods may also make you feel fuller more quickly than bland foods.