Now is the ideal time to start adding more minutes to your weekly exercise clock. Thirty minutes of exercise on most days of the week is generally recommended to achieve health benefits, but if your goal is to slim down and lose a few pounds, then you need to aim for a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Include low-intensity, long-duration cardiovascular exercise on at least five to six days of the week. Also include resistance and/or weight training three to five times weekly to strengthen your muscles and improve body composition.
Cut Out Calorie Drinks
A 32-ounce regular soda, sweet tea or bottled juice drink typically contains around 400-500 calories with little, if any other high-quality nutrients. Cutting 400-500 calories from your diet each day is a huge step in the right direction to better health and a slimmer waistline. Most nutrient-poor, calorie-rich fluids usually do not leave us feeling satisfied, making it too easy to pack away over 1,000 calories in just one sitting. However, swapping these calories for artificial ones from diet drinks is not the best strategy to cutting down. Diet drinks get a bad rap for their synthetic ingredients and their potential to trick the body into wanting more calories with their sweet taste. Stick to drinking water most of the time. Plan your fluid calories carefully.
Eat Real Food
Sounds intuitive, but I suspect for most of us at least half of all the food found in our fridge, freezer and pantry is some form of processed food. Although some processing makes sense, the majority of our current food processing creates food-like substances rather than whole foods. Cut out necessary processed foods and fill your plate with whole foods in their most natural state including large amounts of vegetables, fruits and whole-grains, plant-based proteins (legumes/beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh) and water with a moderate amount of unsweetened dairy or non-dairy alternatives, wild or local grass fed animal proteins, sustainable caught seafood and natural sweeteners. Since the reality is processed foods are not going to disappear, read food packages closely for the list of ingredients. Choose foods with ingredients that are recognizable and pronounceable, minimal in number and contain mainly whole foods.
Add Extra Antioxidants
To protect your skin and body from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet light load up on foods high in vitamin C and vitamin E to help speed up skin cell recovery and prevent damage. Foods rich in lycopene and vitamin D have also been studied for their skin protecting properties. When spending time outdoors make sure to include plenty of these foods into your diet: oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, limes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, dark leafy greens, salmon, yogurt, nuts and seeds.