Women's Health & Wellness

5 healthy ways to shed pounds before your summer vacation

Summer is fast approaching ladies and if your plan is to drop a few excess pounds to fit into that fab and fun bikini you’ve been eying since last summer, I am here to help. Whether you will be riding camels in Dubai, dutyy wining in Jamaica, sipping margaritas in Mexico or heading to Memphis in May the time is now to start getting your body summer time fine. While I am no nutritionist or fitness guru I do know that fad diets don’t work and any time you lose weight “too” fast you almost always gain it back just as quickly. So instead of taking the easy way out we’re going to go at a healthy pace to give long lasting results that we can be proud of. Ready? Let’s go! Here are my top five favorite ways to get summer time fine!

  1. Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is becoming increasingly popular and for good reason. Intermittent fasting allows the body longer periods of time to digest food and recuperate as you are eating for shorter periods of the day. Basically with intermittent fasting you can fast for 16,18, 20 and so on hours and eat between the periods you are not fasting. So let’s say you have dinner just before 8pm, go to sleep and wake up at 8am, technically you have already fasted for 12 hours as you did not eat during that period of time. Now let’s say you have your first meal at 12pm, you have now fasted for a total of 16 hours allowing your digestive system to rest without being packed with more food.Once you do eat you are allowed to continue eating for 4,6,8 hours whatever you choose depending on how long you plan on fasting. So if you start eating at 12pm and eat until 8pm you will be on track to fast 16 hours a day which is usually the recommended time for beginners. It’s best to start off your day with water and then fresh fruit as the fibers in fruit clean out your body and make it easier to have bowel movements. While intermittent fasting is more of a time schedule for eating than a diet plan, eating unhealthy foods or junk food throughout the day will go against the whole purpose of fasting and might still result in weight gain so be mindful of what you are eating.

2. Substituting

A big problem a lot of people face when dieting or changing their eating habits is not knowing exactly what to eat. As someone who has been a meat eater, vegetarian and vegan I know all too well this problem. When you go into anything unprepared you are bound to lose. If you are a burger and fries girl then don’t deprive yourself to only eating salads. When people restrict themselves from eating foods they like, they tend to give up completely and run back to that comfort food they are use to. Instead of completely cutting out the foods you love, find healthier alternatives for them. Love pasta? Try making zucchini noodles instead. If burgers are your thing, look up recipes for plant based burgers and don’t give up until you make it exactly how you like it. If you love ice cream, freeze some bananas and make banana ice cream in your blender. Eating healthy is not about being unhappy it’s about finding healthy alternatives to the foods that you love and still being satisfied when you eat them. By simply switching out some of the foods your are already eating for healthier options you will notice gradual weight loss.

3. Sweat it out

Did you know when you sweat your body releases toxins? By working out you are not only losing weight you are also getting rid of harmful toxins in your body making you even more healthy overall. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a gym membership, hate running or haven’t seen your yoga mat in years, you can still workout. I love a good home workout and have found Pinterest as well as Youtube super helpful in helping me find good workout plans that I actually enjoy. If you hate running on a treadmill then stop doing it. You don’t have to limit yourself to a particular workout especially if it’s something you hate doing. There are plenty of workouts out there that give you the same results that you may actually enjoy. Find a workout that works for you. Look online for a fitness model to be your inspiration and see if any of their workouts are something you can commit to. Find a partner that will keep you motivated. Whatever you do, just start moving.

4. Replacing

Do you typically have more than one large meal a day that might not be the most healthiest food option? Try swapping out one of your meals for a smoothie. Drinking a smoothie filled with fruits, veggies and a milk alternative or water are great for your digestive system as well as helps you cut back on calories. If you don’t own a blender already, invest in one so you are able to easily make smoothies when you feel the urge instead of having to go out and buy smoothies every day.  A great way to stay prepared is to pre-bag everything you want in your smoothie, freeze it, then simply blend when you are ready.

5. Get moving

How often do you take the elevator instead of the stairs? Do you drive places you very easily could walk? On your lunch do you sit down for the entire time even when the weather is amazing outside? The more you move, inevitably the more calories you will burn and the more exercise you will get. If you find yourself constantly behind the wheel or sitting for long periods of time, it’s time to start making some changes. Get up as much as possible and simply move. Your body will thank you for the stretching and you will be so much more in shape even from the small changes. Today, take the stairs, walk the trail, ride that bike. Get up and get active as often as possible even if it’s simply walking around the mall searching for the perfect summer swimwear.

What changes will you be making to get in shape this summer?

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By Ashley Renee

Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes plant based, spoken word poet, who doesn't trust boxed macaroni or cats. To keep up with her head over to her twitter and Instagram @ashleyreneepoet also check out her website.

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