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11 Practical Ideas to Help You Lose Weight This Summer
Ann M. Swank, PhD, FACSM
Jun 1, 2006
See if any of these suggestions will work for you
You’ve heard it a thousand times: If you want to lose weight,
eat less and exercise more. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But
in reality, it’s not.
We need some effective strategies to
help us do it. One way is to make lots and lots of small and
painless changes related to eating and exercise. I recently lost 30
pounds over nine months by using this method.
See if any of these suggestions will work for you:
Substitute water and diet drinks for sodas. Subtracting just
one calorie-rich soda every day can make a big difference. With all
the calorie-free flavored-water beverages now available, this is not
difficult to do.
Eat only healthful and calorie-free snacks after dinner. This
strategy was effective for combating my “mindless
eating,” which occurred most often at night.
Eat at least one salad every day. Salads are nutritious and
satisfying—just go easy with the dressing, cheese and other
A personal downfall of mine is the buffet-style meal. I feel
compelled to “get my money’s worth.” If you
frequently eat at buffet-style restaurants, substitute a regular
menu meal every week, or avoid the buffet tables entirely.
Add a mile of walking to your daily routine. I increased my weekly
mileage from 15 miles to 25. Ten miles of walking each week adds up
to about 1,000 more calories burned per week.
Consider adding a resistance-training or strength-training program
to your workout routine. While the actual performance of resistance
exercise does not burn a lot of calories, in the long run it can
increase muscle mass, which boosts your resting metabolism and helps
you to burn more calories all day long. Muscle is three times as
active metabolically at rest as is fat.
Consider starting a flexibility program like yoga. There are many
benefits of improved flexibility, and yoga is great for reducing
stress and creating a quiet time to get centered during our hectic
Change up your exercise routine periodically. If you’re a
swimmer, try running; if you bike, take some dance classes. Doing
the same exercise day in, day out is boring for you and for your
body, and it often results in a weight-loss plateau. Give your
fitness program a jump start with a different routine.
Park farther away from work and walk, walk the concourse at sporting
events, walk or bike to do short errands instead of taking the car.
I call this my “unconscious” exercise strategy.
Find an exercise partner who will pester you to exercise and will be
your conscience. Having a workout buddy can make the time fly
Be flexible with your program. Follow the 80/20 rule: If I can
follow sound exercise and diet strategies 80 percent of the time or
four days out of five, positive things will usually result.
I hope these ideas help you meet your goals this summer. Have fun
with your program!
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