As the snow starts melting and we start shedding the layers everyone is thinking the same thing: how do I lose this winter weight? Somehow every year between the holiday season and the earliest signs of spring, people tend to get a little bigger round the middle. But with swimsuit season around the corner, everyone is looking for quick ways to shed the pounds. Many people even take drastic steps to lose weight for the spring. Unfortunately, there are a lot of dieting schemes out there that claim you can “lose weight fast”, but usually dangerous and ineffective. Check out this list of tips and tricks to shed winter pounds in healthier way:
- Beware of fad diets and quick fixes: Oftentimes diets promise to help you “lose weight fast.” Disguised as “cleanses,” these liquid fasts are usually low-calorie, short term solutions that (in the best cases) result in muscle or water loss. The last thing you want to do is lose muscle mass! Less muscle makes it harder for your body to burn calories and it instead stores these excess calories as fat. This is why yo-yo dieting is so ineffective.
- Keep the Good Carbs!:A lot of diets promote cutting carbs, but it’s basically impossible to give them up completely. Remember you NEED carbohydrates for energy. Instead, try cutting your carb intake in half and doubling the amount of fruits and veggies you eat. Fiber from the vegetables will keep you full, and sugar from the fruit can help satiate your sweet tooth!
- Make healthy substitutions: There are simple ways to make your favorite meals healthier. Try using olive oil instead of butter, choose baked over fried, replace beef with lean turkey… the opportunities are endless.
- Eat More Often: This always sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s one of the most important steps in an effective diet. You should eat 5-6 times a day, whether it’s several small meals, or three moderately sized meals and three snacks. Waiting too long between meals may cause you to over eat, or succumb to poor diet choices. If you eat several low calorie meals, you’ll be far less hungry, not to mention more energized throughout your day.
- Have Healthy Options Available: This goes hand in hand with the last tip. Try keeping healthy snacks at your desk or in your car, to help you avoid diet mishaps. If your job has a community fridge, keep a secret stash of fruit or pieces of cheese for yourself. Greek yogurt is also a great low calorie snack; because it has more protein than regular yogurt, you’ll feel fuller, longer.
- Don’t skip dessert: Many diets fail because people give themselves incredibly strict restrictions, and then relapse. Give yourself a little flexibility, and allow something sweet each day. Try a piece of dark chocolate or a bowl of fresh fruit with a dollop of low-fat whipped cream. Remember, there are a wide variety of healthy desserts out there. Dieting shouldn’t feel like a punishment, so grab your grocery list and get to it! The summer will be here in no time.