Countdown To Summer Fitness Challenge

How about those fabulous bike rides in the park! What about grilling barbeque on the deck? Are you down for a little surfing and tanning on the beach? Summer will be upon us in less than six weeks. Not only do we want to enjoy the warm months that are rapidly approaching, we want to look like we are enjoying them.

It doesn’t matter if it is ten, twenty, forty, or seventy pounds, just get started!

Weight loss should be slow and steady, while focusing on cutting calories and increasing exercise. It is important to refrain from overexerting yourself. Weight loss takes time.

I have never been one to acknowledge or accept the idea of dieting. The true meaning of dieting is counting and managing your calories for a specific amount of time in order to reach a target weight goal. This concerns me because it is temporary. What happens when you resume your normal eating habits? You gain weight!

I believe in making a complete paradigm in the way we think about food. You can do this by establishing good eating habits. Why not establish a habit of consuming 500-600 calories for breakfast instead of 1,500? If you replace muffins, bagels, pancakes, sausage, grits and bacon with fruit, turkey bacon, cottage cheese, grain cereal, or yogurt, you will probably find yourself 10 pounds lighter on breakfast alone. Do the same for lunch and dinner and lose an additional 10-20 pounds. Wait until you add exercise into the equation.

Exercise for thirty minutes per day, four to five times a week and watch additional pounds drop.
Of course, this takes determination and discipline. Yet, habits are habits. Once you get used to a routine of eating certain foods, it becomes second nature. Weight management not only helps you look better, but helps you feel better. You will begin to notice an increase in energy and an improvement in health.

It is important to monitor the amount of cholesterol you consume. Diets high in cholesterol can lead to heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. Be sure to get a cholesterol screening on a regular basis. Eat fish at least twice a week, preferably those with darker flesh, such as, salmon, herring mackerel, and lake trout. They are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which lower blood cholesterol.

It is also important to eat foods that will not contribute to high blood pressure. Limit your alcohol intake to less than two drinks per day, limit your salt intake, and reduce the saturated fat in your diet. Saturated fat can be found in animal products like milk, cheese, and meat. Let go of the cigarettes or tobacco products! Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Try nonfat yogurt, salsa, or nonfat sour cream instead of sour cream or butter on baked potatoes. Try substituting fresh vegetables and tomatoes sauce for creamy sauces, when eating pasta.

Substitute basic breads and cereal grains for bagels, muffins, and croissants.

A diet high in fruits and vegetables will help you ward off cancer and other diseases because of the cancer-fighting agents contained in them. They contain a lot of fiber and a diet high in fiber decreases your risk of developing colon cancer and other types of cancer. Fruits and vegetables also contain Vitamin A (beta carotene) and C, both of which contain cartenoids and antioxidants.

Cartenoids can also be found in dark leafy vegetables, carrots, cantaloupe, papaya, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Additional sources of Vitamin C are strawberries, oranges, broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes. It is always best to lightly steam your vegetables. The closer they are to being raw, the higher their nutritional value.

People have asked me how exercise can give you energy. It seems as though it takes your energy away because you utilize so much energy when you exercise. This is the farthest thing from the truth. The more you exercise and lose weight, the more energy you get and keep because you are carrying less weight, which takes less energy. The more you exercise, the more you are able to exercise.

After you get your weight to a manageable level, monitor or keep a close eye on it. Weigh yourself everyday. That way, you can take measures or do things to nip sudden weight gain. If you find yourself five or ten pounds heavier than your target weight, you should cut back immediately. It becomes a problem when we wait until we are 30, 60, or 100 pounds overweight. It can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle when your weight gain has become too extreme.

It is a good idea to make a list of different ways to incorporate walking into your daily life. If you live near a metro transit station, drive there, park your car and ride the train and walk to work. If you are a new mother, get a stroller that will enable you to burn calories while you are walking your baby. Why not take the stairs, instead of the elevator? You would be surprised at how many calories you can burn by gardening, swimming, skating, hiking, and dancing. Believe it or not, you can have fun while losing weight. Exercise, along with a positive attitude, and a healthy diet will help you to manage your weight and improve your health. Exercise does not have to be rigorous to be valuable. You will probably do yourself a disservice by exercising too hard. Take it easy. Just gradually build up your resistance to a manageable level. Always remember that if you can not talk and walk at the same time, then you are walking too fast.

If you have any of the following health problems, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

β€’ Heart trouble
β€’ Dizziness or faintness
β€’ Chest pains
β€’ Diabetes
β€’ High blood pressure
β€’ Arthritis

How to prepare food for a good diet and low calories:

β€’ Eat Fish at least twice a week, preferable baked, broiled, or grilled. Reduce serving size to 2-3 ounces.

β€’ To reduce fat, use lean poultry and fish, as well as, lean cuts of meat such as top and bottom round and tenderloin. Avoid second servings. Feel free to replace some meats with beans or grains.

β€’ Eat at least three to five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Fruit like kiwi, figs, apples, raspberries, and blueberries are high in fiber and nutrition. Vegetables such as, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, chili peppers, red bell peppers, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes have high nutritional value and are great anti-oxidants (contain cancer-fighting agents).

β€’ Eat whole-grain, whole-wheat bread, pasta, tortillas, and cereals daily

β€’ Eat cooked dry beans, peas, and lentils regularly

β€’ Eat popcorn with no added oil, salt, or butter.

β€’ Drink skim milk or 1% milk

β€’ You should drink at least 24 ounces of water per day, especially since you will be exercising.

β€’ Limit the oil you use for cooking

β€’ Steam your vegetables or sautΓ© using wine or a half teaspoon of oil

β€’ Use herbs and spices for seasoning, instead of sauces and butter

β€’ Salads should be eaten with fat-free dressing or a combination of red wine vinegar and oil

β€’ Drink a glass of water in the morning when you wake

β€’ Limit your consumption of lean, red meat to no more than four times per month