If you’re hoping to see the scale number move south by summer, consider these helpful tips from nutrition experts on how to lose weight ahead of the hot season.
“With dedication and smart food choices, it’s possible to lose 10 pounds or more by summer in a healthy and safe way,” said Mary Sabat, Georgia-based nutritionist and Certified Ace Trainer behind BodyDesignsByMary.com, at Fox News Digital.
Ahead, several nutritionists share their top tips for losing weight before it’s time to hit the beach.
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1. Set realistic goals
First of all, is 10 pounds by June even realistic? As long as you’ve been reading this for more than five weeks before summer, know that it’s doable if you do it safely.
Allison Dobbyn, Registered Dietitian in Canada at 123gonutrition.com, says a realistic weight loss goal is to lose no more than one to two pounds per week. Whatever diet you decide to follow (see general guidelines below), make sure you’re not too strict about food intake, advised Dobbyn.
“When you’re on a restrictive diet, your body releases more hunger hormones, which will make it difficult to stick with the diet,” Dobbyn suggested. “Dieting that is too restrictive is not sustainable in the long term. Studies show that most people regain weight within 12 months of starting a diet.”
Along those lines, don’t skip meals, Dobbyn said. “Eating regular meals spaced evenly throughout the day will keep you from getting too hungry and craving foods high in fat and sugar,” she added, noting that you should plan to take three meals and one to two snacks per day.
2. Eat more protein
Sabat said that according to the International Journal of Obesity, increasing protein intake can help boost metabolism and reduce appetite, which aids weight loss.
“Eating more protein is important for weight loss because it can help reduce hunger, boost metabolism and preserve muscle mass during weight loss,” she said. “Protein is more satisfying than carbs or fat, so people who eat more protein tend to consume fewer calories overall.”
Sabat added that high-protein diets have also been shown to boost metabolism, burning more calories around the clock.
“In addition, protein helps preserve muscle mass while dieting, which helps maintain a healthy metabolism.”
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3. Eat more fruits and vegetables
“Eating more fruits and vegetables can help you lose weight by providing essential vitamins and minerals, as well as filling you up with fewer calories,” Sabat said, citing the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which helps you feel full longer and can help reduce cravings for unhealthy snacks.”
As Sabat also points out, because fruits and vegetables are mostly water, they have a low energy density, which means they can help you eat fewer calories overall.
4. Fill the plate around two key nutrients: fiber and protein
Experts say pairing high-fiber fruits with vegetables at every meal is a good way to lose weight, especially at the first meal of the day.
“Fiber is key when making breakfast because it will keep your blood sugar levels up, therefore your energy, promote gut health and keep you full and satisfied throughout the morning,” Kerri Hawkins, dietician based in Massachusetts and owner of Perfect Pear Coaching (perfectpecoaching.com), told Fox News Digital.
By focusing on adding fiber, Hawkins says it will start displacing simple sugars and refined carbs that have been linked to crashes, brain fog and constipation. Including a source of protein at breakfast (and throughout the day) is also necessary.
“It will also keep your blood sugar levels up and keep you full and satisfied, much like fiber. Protein is also a key nutrient for maintaining and building muscle mass, which is vital for strength, bone health and longevity,” added Hawkins.
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5. Incorporate small extra exercise sessions into your routine
Rachel Dyckman, a New York-based dietitian nutritionist and owner of RachelDyckmanNutrition.com, noted that adding easy mini-bursts of movement throughout the day can add up quickly and aid weight loss.
“For example, try to park farther from your destination, get off the subway a few stops earlier to walk, take the stairs whenever possible, take short walks after meals, or do a few push-ups between meetings,” a- she suggested. “These little exercise ‘snacks’ can all help with weight loss by encouraging your muscles to use blood sugar throughout the day, helping to regulate (your) metabolism.”
6. Drink more water
According to Dyckman, taking breaks and staying well hydrated can help with weight loss.
“A lot of people don’t drink enough water throughout the day, and research shows it’s quite common to confuse hunger with thirst,” Dyckman said.
“Try keeping a large water bottle or sippy cup in your sight during the day as a visual reminder to drink,” she suggested. “Adding herbal teas like peppermint, ginger, and hibiscus can add flavor without the extra calories, making the water more exciting.”
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7. Reduce your alcohol intake
If you’re looking to lose weight by summer, reducing or completely eliminating wine, beer and spirits from your routine is one of the easiest ways to lose weight.
“Limiting alcohol consumption can help reduce calories and facilitate weight loss,” Sabat said.
Additionally, limiting alcohol can help curb your appetite because alcohol can suppress your body’s ability to recognize hunger hormones, she added.
Sabat said reducing your alcohol intake can also help increase your metabolism because alcohol can slow down your body’s ability to burn fat.
“While the liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, the body is going into fat storage,” she explained.
Consider eliminating sugary drinks from your diet as well as alcohol to have an even greater impact on your waistline. “Beverages high in sugar like energy drinks, juices, sodas and fancy coffee drinks have little nutritional value and can provide hundreds of empty calories,” Dobbyn said.
8. Prepare lunch
Try homemade lunches instead of shopping, Dobbyn said, and you’ll likely save calories and grams of fat. You also risk saving yourself too much sodium.
“Even if you make smart choices in a restaurant, there will still be more fat, salt, and calories than if you were making a meal at home,” Dobbyn explained.
“Eating out is part of life, and I’m not saying avoid it altogether, but if you’re used to buying lunch several times a week, this could be an easy change to make to reduce your calorie intake (and save money),” she added.
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9. Get enough sleep
If you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s time to change that for a variety of health reasons, such as cardiovascular health and your weight, according to Dobbyn.
“Make sure you get enough sleep. Research has shown that sleep deprivation leads to increased levels of your hunger hormone, ghrelin,” Dobbyn says.
Read here for a list of nutritious foods which experts say can help you sleep better.
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