If you're ready to turn over a new leaf this summer, weight loss can be a happy side effect of a more active lifestyle. Eating right is easy when farmers' markets full of healthy foods are open for business. Working out is fun when you can enjoy both good company and recreation.
To maintain a healthy weight and fit condition, the American Heart Association suggests getting started now with menus and activities that you can pursue in the long term as well. A diet and fitness plan for the warm-weather months will allow you to enjoy summer and lose weight at the same time.
Switch to water as your beverage of choice. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) notes that a glass of water has 0 calories, compared to cola (12 oz., 137 calories), beer (12 oz., 153 calories) and red wine (3.5 oz., 88 calories). Eliminating these significant calories every day will help you lose weight and keep it off.
Start a daily fitness program. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 30-minute workouts -- which include daily aerobic exercise and strength training every other day -- as a well-rounded routine for adults looking to lose weight.
Put chilled soups on your menu. The AHA suggests filling up on low-calorie food that satisfy hunger. Soup is a nutrient-dense healthy food, and cold soups satisfy your summertime urge to cool down. Some require no cooking. A weight loss diet can include berry soups, gazpacho and vichyssoise.
Walk or bike everywhere. The calories you burn will add up to real weight loss. According to AARP, walking 2 miles or cycling 5 miles in 30 minutes uses up 150 calories.
Visit your local produce stand often. Most of the healthy foods you find there contain little or no fat or added sugars. The Food and Drug Administration says that you should wash fresh fruits and vegetables, but you shouldn't use soap or commercial produce washes.
Choose low-fat protein sources. Healthy foods such as dark poultry, fish and tofu are recommended by the USDA to help you maintain or lose weight.
Join a group fitness class. The NIH notes the motivational benefits of exercising in company. Learn a new skill, such as yoga, tai chi or pilates, or a new sport such as horseback riding. Maintaining your interest in exercise will aid your weight loss efforts long past the summer.
American Heart Association: 5 Weight Loss Goals
National Institutes of Health: Weight Loss for Life
AARP: Weigh Less, Live Longer: Strategies for Successful Weight Loss
Food and Drug Administration: Tips for Fresh Produce Safety
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): Dietary Guidelines for Americans
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