Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Want to Lose a Few Pounds Before Summer

Let's face it, summer time is just around the corner. Swim suits, short sleeves, short pants. I don't know about you, but I ate a few too many Christmas cookies and drank a few too many cups of cocoa by the fire this winter. In the chilly winter months, you can put on an extra sweater or a baggy flannel shirt and forget it but in the summer time, everything is revealed!

This summer especially, I want to look my best because my step-daughter is getting married at the end of June-at a resort in Cancun!

For losing weight, there are no quick fixes. I know a slower, steady weight loss will keep the pounds off, at least until next Christmas! If I start now, in April, I can be at least 10 pounds lighter by June.

Here's my plan for the next few weeks:

Spend Time Each Day Visualizing a Slimmer, Summer Shape

I start by setting my ideal weight and focusing on that instead of "being on a diet." People who focus on losing weight and "being on a diet" are always going to be on a diet and striving to lose weight. I like to focus instead on the weight I want to be. Then I create a picture in my mind of me sitting by the pool in Cancun, but at my ideal weight.

Here are some helpful hints I use for weight loss visualization:
  • I try to be realistic in choosing the weight I'm aiming at. I'll never be a size 5 but I want to be healthy and feel comfortable.
  • I've already bought a new swimsuit for the summer vacation, as well as a terrific dress one size smaller than I am now. I spent a little more than normal on these because I didn't want to skimp. Now they are hanging in my closet where I see them 2-3 times a day at least.
  • Beside these, on the closet door, is a photo of me last summer, before the Christmas cookies starting clinging to my hips.
  • I placed a piece of masking tape on my scale read out. On it I wrote my target weight so I can see it every day and "practice" being at that weight.
I bought an inexpensive spiral notebook and I'm writing down everything I'm eating. At the end of the day, I roughly add up the calories. Although I've done this before, it never fails to give me a needed check up on what I'm eating. I can see if I've picked up any bad food habits the past few months.

If you try this, you can see where your problem areas are. Do you drink high calorie sodas every day or add a couple teaspoons of sugar to coffee or tea? Those things add up. All the little extras, like using regular butter and sour cream on your baked potato, instead of reduced fat, can pile on extra calories. If you
dine out or eat fast food, you can easily consume a week's worth of fat grams and several days worth of calories in one sitting.

When I see where my calories are going, then I look for painless ways to cut calories from my daily diet-just cutting a few hundred calories per day can add up to a pound lost each week. Each pound of fat is 3,500 calories so cutting 500 per day equals a loss of one pound per week.

Here are some other Healthy Weight Loss Tips I use to get in shape for Summer:
I already walk every day, but when I start a weight loss program, I extend my walk by 15-20 minutes so that it's an hour long. In January, I also started an aerobics class at the local YMCA, which includes some weights, balance exercises and using bands to tone up.

If you don't exercise now, start with a 10 minute walk a day if that's all you can fit into your schedule.
Visualize yourself as a person who loves to exercise and you'll start feeling better every day. I've found that walking my dogs, who never let me skip a day, and carrying a small CD player to listen to books on CD, has really helped me.

The most important part of losing weight for summer is learning some new health and nutritional habits that will keep the weight off for the whole year-not just for that summer swim suit.

I'll keep you posted on my progress as the spring disappears into summer.

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