As the months progress and the weather improves, the water temperature goes up and the sun starts to shine. All these events point to only one thing: summer. With the new season comes the need to lose your winter weight so you can look good at the beach or even the pool. With a calorie restricted diet that is high in healthy foods and low in junk, you can trim up and start looking good just in time for the hot months ahead.
Type and Amount of Food
The two main steps you need to take in order to start your summer beach body diet is changing the amount and type of foods you eat. To lose weight and achieve a more toned appearance, you need to decrease your calorie intake so that your body will start using its fat stores for energy. By ditching junk food that is high in calories and low in nutrients for healthier food that is low in calories, you will actually be able to eat more and still lose weight.
You should first work to eliminate junk from your diet and replace it with healthy food. When you stop eating bad foods, your calorie intake will usually go down because healthy foods are much lower in calories. Compare the amount of calories in an apple with a serving of chips. You will only be able to eat a few apples but can probably eat half a big bag of chips in one sitting.
Fat comes in three types: saturated, unsaturated and trans fat. Saturated fat is found in meat products (beef, pork, dairy) and is unhealthy in large amounts. Trans fat is also unhealthy and found in any food that contains partially or fully hydrogenated vegetable oil. Trans fat is found in all kinds of junk foods such as cookies, cakes and even some peanut butters. Intake of trans fat should be kept to a minimum.
Healthy or unsaturated fats come mainly from non-meat sources. They are also found in some vegetables, nuts, fish and flax seeds. These fats are healthy for your heart (can lower cholesterol levels and your risk for heart disease) and can help you lower your calorie level. If you have to choose between a doughnut and nuts, think of how many doughnuts you can eat versus the amount of nuts or natural peanut butter (the kind in which the oil separates) you can take in. You will eat a lot less nuts and therefore lower the amount of calories you eat.
Carbohydrates are our main source of energy and if you will be exercising (like you should) to get that summer beach body, you will need a lot of fuel. Carbs are found in healthy as well as unhealthy foods so to get an ample supply, you do not have to eat junk. Carbs are split up into two categories: simple (bad) and complex (good).
Simple carbs are sugars found in soda, candy and chocolate. These carbs have little nutrients and are digested quickly leaving you feeling hungry in a short amount of time. Complex carbs are found in whole wheats, vegetables and oats. They are high in nutrients and are digested slowly to keep you full for a longer time. If you stay full, you will not be hungry and therefore eat less. You want to increase your intake of complex carbs while decreasing the amount of simple carbs you take in. Fruits also contain simple carbs but because they are filled with fiber, they are digested slowly and make you feel full. Any food that is high in fiber will have the same effect.
Protein can also be separated into two different categories: complete and incomplete. Proteins are made out of amino acids. There are some amino acids that our bodies can make, and others that it can't. If we cannot make them, they are called essential amino acids. For a protein to be complete, it must contain all the essential amino acids. Complete proteins are the best kind because our body can use them to rebuild and repair muscle tissue that is damaged during exercise (damaged muscle from exercise is good).
Sources of complete protein include any animal product: meat, cheese, dairy and fish. Incomplete proteins are not useless. If you combine incomplete proteins, also known as eating a variety of foods, you will make complete ones. Good sources of proteins that are complete are unfortunately associated with a high amount of saturated fat. When looking for food that has good protein, use low fat dairy and cheese as well as lean cuts of beef, poultry and fish.
Once you start eating these healthy foods, you calorie count will naturally come down. To figure out how many calories you need to eat each day, use the Calorie Calculator. Based on your height, weight, sex and activity level, it will estimate how many calories you burn each day. To lose weight, you need to take in less energy than you burn so that your body will start using its fat deposits as energy. When you body starts to do this, you will begin to lose weight and become more toned.
To lose one pound per week, you need to eat 500 calories less than you burn. To lose two pounds per week, you need to eat 1,000 calories less than you burn. Do not eat less than 1,200 calories a day. Going so low will make it very difficult to get 100% of your daily vitamin and mineral needs as well as slow down your metabolism so that you will not lose as much weight as you originally had hoped for. Putting your health in danger is not worth losing a few extra pounds. Increasing your exercise level is safer and healthier than cutting your calories too deeply.
Monitor your weight on a daily (at the same time each day) basis. Only by watching your weight carefully can you know if your diet is working. Waiting weeks between measurements might make it too late to change your diet. The estimate that the calorie calculator gives you is just an estimate. It gives you a good base to start from but it may take a few weeks for you to know how many calories you are actually burning.
The Bottom Line
Remember that changing your body to make yourself look better does not happen overnight. The earlier you start on your summer beach body diet, the better your results will be. A solid diet combined with a good exercise routine will help you get the best results in the shortest amount of time.