The season of hibernation is over. There are no more excuses! Summer is the perfect time to achieve your weight-loss goals.
Unplug During Lunch – Step away from your computer and smart phone. It’s common knowledge now that turning off electronic devices before bed is essential to eliminating stress and ensuring quality sleep. But unplugging during the day is crucial as well. Our devices and social media have taken over our lives. Instead of using your mid-day break to catch up on email, check social media, or “surf” the Internet aimlessly, allow yourself to unplug for 20-30 minutes. Grab a friend to join you for a walk, schedule a quick lunch date with a co-worker, or get back to old-fashioned paperback books and magazines! This mid-day break from your workspace and “screens” can help your body reboot for the remainder of your day.
Work Out Outside – Forget the gym! A recent study by the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom showed that exercising outdoors is more enjoyable than doing the same activity indoors, which makes it easier to stick to the fitness part of your weight-loss goals. On top of that, warm days and sunshine are much more inviting than rainy spring days or blustery winter days, so you have far fewer excuses to skip your summer workout. There are plenty of ways to get started and burn calories all summer long – walking, swimming, biking, running, even gardening – just don’t forget the sunscreen!
Grill It – Whether it’s a cookout with friends or an easy weeknight dinner, grilling outside offers many advantages. All those vegetables you vowed to eat taste even more delicious when grilled. To make sure everything cooks evenly, be sure to cut veggies into chunks of similar size and thread them onto skewers to prevent them from falling through the grates. Try eggplant, onion, mushrooms, squash or cherry tomatoes. Grilling can also bring a boring chicken breast to life, and a homemade dry rub can flavor your choice of protein without all the fat and calories of creamy BBQ sauces and oily marinades.
Get Enough Sleep – Losing sleep tends to make people eat more and gain weight, and now a new study suggests that one reason may be the impact that sleep deprivation has on the brain. The research showed that depriving people of sleep for one night created pronounced changes in the way their brains responded to high-calorie junk foods. On days when the subjects had not had proper sleep, fattening foods like potato chips and sweets stimulated stronger responses in a part of the brain that helps govern the motivation to eat. But at the same time, the subjects experienced a sharp reduction in activity in the frontal cortex, a higher-level part of the brain where consequences are weighed and rational decisions are made.