As the warmer weather rolls in, many of us start to shed our comfy-cozy ways of winter and start thinking about healthier eating habits and a healthier lifestyle to slip into our summer body. But once you’re feeling confident and comfortable in your summer skin, how can you keep feeling great through a season packed with barbeques, ice cream, and social gatherings? Here are some tips to help keep up your health and physique.
Think About The Whole Body
Eating has become a race—an afterthought. We try to get it done faster so that we can get back to work, get the kids to practice or just simply get it over with. We grab breakfast on the run, lunch on the go or just skip meals entirely. And yet food is not just for fuel. It’s necessary for energy, mood, concentration and even productivity. By paying attention to the needs of our whole body—both mentally and physically—we are more likely to reach our health goals and maintain them with more ease.
It’s important to not only look at what we eat, but how we eat. Here are some tips on how to integrate the whole-body mindset back into your eating to help you maintain your weight.
Slow Down. Eating slowly can help us feel more satisfied and help prevent overeating. Try putting your utensil down between bites. Take sips of water frequently. Chew more. You can even try to eat with your non-dominant hand! Try to give yourself 20 minutes to finish your meal so that your body can feel its fullness.
Avoid Multi-tasking. Eating mindlessly or while doing other things actually has negative health effects. If the mind is multi-tasking during eating, the critical signals that regulate food intake may not be received by the brain. This means we won’t recognize the sensations of taste, satisfaction and fullness. This scenario can lead to the brain sending more signals of hunger even if we’ve already eaten enough, which increases the risk we’ll overeat.
Stop. Breathe. Reflect. Choose. This cognitive restructuring technique can be effective before choosing second helpings or snacks. It makes you think about whether you really want or need the food. Take a deep breath and ask yourself: Are you actually hungry or just bored? Anxious? Stressed? This technique can help stop impulse eating. It’s important not to reinforce the urge by eating right away.
READ MORE: Looking For A Lifestyle Change? 5 Tips To Achieve Holistic Health
Foods For Satiety
When we pack our day with foods that keep us satisfied and energized, we’re less likely to fall off track. Eating on a consistent basis with meals chock-full of the right foods will help keep our blood sugar stable and help to avoid those highs and lows that cause fatigue and cravings.
Protein. Protein takes longer to break down, helping us stay satisfied for longer. Have a bit of protein with each meal. Good choices include fish, poultry, lean meat, dairy, tofu, beans/legumes, and nuts and seeds.
Whey. Want to get specific on the protein front? Scientists are finding that whey, the liquid component of milk, provides fullness cues in the body that affect both short- and long-term food intake regulation.1 This means it helps with satiety, keeping you feeling full for longer. Additionally, studies are starting to find that whey may help with weight and fat loss, as well as helping to maintain lean body mass.2
Fiber. Bulking up on fibrous foods helps you feel fuller. In fact, there’s a diet for that—Volumetrics. Developed by Dr. Barbara Rolls, the goal is to fill up on high-nutrient, high-volume, low-calorie foods to help you feel full while not taking in too many calories, resulting in easier weight maintenance and potential weight loss. There are studies that back up its effectiveness.3, 4, 5 How can you make this work for you? Fill your plate with around 2 cups of vegetables—things like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini and summer squash, carrots, cucumber and bell peppers.
Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts. These three nuts contain magnesium, important in converting food to energy. Rich in protein and monounsaturated fat, they help keep you feel full for longer and help to normalize blood sugar. In fact, walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
READ MORE: Protein Rich Foods
READ MORE: High Fiber Foods
Burn It Up!
We burn calories and nutrients all day long to support our normal bodily functions—to breakdown and digest food, as well as to build and repair the body. While we have a baseline metabolism based on our body size, gender, age and genes, there are certain things we can do to boost it up or to help.
Get Active! This is the best way to impact your metabolism. Studies indicate that while aerobic activity is great for burning calories during the workout, it’s resistance training over time that may help increase your resting metabolic rate.6, 7 Time to go out and find your favorite summer body workout!
Add Spice. It turns out that cayenne is jam-packed with spicy surprises. Research shows that it may increase your daily energy burn, help you burn more fat, and even reduce appetite.8, 9, 10 Cayenne is even available in supplement form for those that are not a fan of the spice on food.
Start the Fast. Pick a time at night to stop eating. Eating too much at night has been shown to lead to weight gain, impact lipid levels, influence glycemic control and cause other metabolic problems.11, 12, 13
Try CLA. There are some promising studies coming out regarding the effect of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) on helping to support healthy body composition and improvements in lean muscle tone.14
READ MORE: Stay Strong At Home With Team GNC