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10 Rule to Have Your Slimmest Summer Yet

Food is FuelBy: Cassie Coleman


1. Protein is your friend


2. Eliminate sugar and preservatives

More and more studies recently have been proving that it is not fat (see rule #3), but increased sugar intake that is to blame for the obesity epidemic. Sugar is incredibly addicting and basically does similar things to our brain and body chemistries as many hard, street drugs. Further, substitutes for sugar like high fructose corn syrup and aspartame (found in diet sodas) not only don’t help your diet, they actually cause you gain weight by triggering your body to store fat as well as triggering sensors in your brain that tell your body it is still hungry! Similar effects have been shown with many preservatives commonly added to many familiar meals, especially those frozen diet meals we often tend to turn to!( Long story short, eat fresh!!! The best way to do this? Grocery shop along the perimeter of the store where you can find all of the meat, eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables. There are rare reasons to enter aisles (coconut oil, nut butters, etc.), and if you do, have a plan and don’t get distracted!! Get in, get out, and get on your way.


3. Don’t be afraid of fat

Unlike sugar and preservatives described above, fat will not make you fat and in fact, similar to protein, is a great addition to a diet for added energy and to keep you full longer. Great fats to add to your menu are avocado, nuts or nut butters, seeds, and coconut oil.


4. Monitor your carb intake

Although I would never suggest eliminating carbs, especially not for more intense exercisers like CrossFitters, it can be easy to overindulge. Especially in the summer time, beware of too much fruit, limiting to a maximum of one piece a day and trying to keep consumption before noon (so you have time to digest and process the sugar and your body doesn’t turn it to fat while you sleep!). A good baseline may be fruit with breakfast, rice with lunch, sweet potato with dinner. This may take adjusting to, but your body will begin to use fat as its primary energy source rather than carbohydrates, promoting not only fat-loss but also increased energy (fat yields more overall ATP production than glucose)!!


5. Avoid cleanses and other starvation-type diets

I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve talked to ecstatic to lose 5 pounds in 2 days from a juice cleanse, only to speak with them later and learn they gained 7-10 pounds in the 3 days after the cleanse. These cleanses and extremely low-calorie “diets” may yield immediate results, but cause your body to react as if it were literally starving. In this survival mode, your body will minimize your metabolism to a legitimate crawl conserving as much energy as possible. Once the cleanse is over and you begin to eat normally, your metabolism will still be moving at a glacial pace and nearly all the calories you consume will be stored immediately as fat.


6. Watch out for mindless snacking

Long days at the beach, BBQs, parties, and many other fun activities of summer all lend themselves to snacking. Be aware of this and consciously make decisions to avoid it. Eat before heading to these events. Pack your own meals for a longer day. If you are hungry and need a snack, choose carrots or celery over chips and dip. A carrot dipped in salsa is nearly as good as a chip dipped in salsa and you’ll be much happier the next time you get into that bikini!


7. Get a slim-down buddy and keep a joint food log

Get a bunch of friends together and kick-off your new eating habits together! Create a Google Document and share it, create a food-log for each person to fill out for each day, and most importantly, check in on each other! Keep each other accountable. It’ll make it more fun and make all of you more successful!


8. Find a workout schedule that you can stick to and that you ENJOY!

Get your slim-down buddies from above and get a workout routine going. Summer is a great time to explore new types of activities such as running, swimming, biking, hiking, paddling, surfing, etc. Search around on local websites or try and find classes, often times they are given for free at certain outdoor locations such as yoga or boot-camp classes. Whatever it is you decide to do, have fun!!


9. Don’t drink your calories

With nicer weather often comes more beers, more frozen drinks (more alcohol in general), more milkshakes, more flavored iced coffees, etc. BEWARE! One frozen pina colada can have 350 calories, one can of beer upwards of 200 calories, and an iced coffee with syrup and creamer between 200 and 300 calories. No need to be dry all summer (see rule #10), but be aware. Do not over indulge or all the hard work you’ve put in monitoring your solid food intake will be for nothing.


10. Break the rules

Enjoy your summer!! Have that fruity beverage on the beach on Fourth of July weekend or that ice cream cone with your friends. A great way to break-down your diet is an “80/20” mentality, 80% of the time stay strict, 20% of the time give yourself some wiggle room.

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