With summer right around the corner, you might be regretting all of those Taco Tuesdays! We know we are and you’re probably in a state of panic like us. Summer beach weather is about 3 months away and you’re probably thinking that it’s too late to get the body you want. Or maybe you’ve adopted the whole, “the beach will get whatever body I give it” mentality. And if you have, then good for you! We wish we were that confident. However, if you’re looking to slim down and shape up in order to rock your swimwear with confidence on the beach, then we can help you achieve your goals!
While 3 months might not sound like a lot of time to hit your body goals, it’s actually doable. Of course, that’s dependent upon how much weight you have to lose, but even if 3 months isn’t enough time to get totally beach ready, you’ll see a big difference in your body. And that might be all the confidence you need to strut your stuff down the beach. Plus by the time summer hits, your body has grown accustomed to the workout and diet routine so it’ll be much easier to stick with if you’re trying to shed extra pounds.
However, since this is a “crash course” so to speak, you’ll need to be consistent and stick with the routine. Skipping days or having too many cheat meals will do you a big disservice. So while it might be tempting to take a day off, power through it and think of the end results! We also want to remind you to talk to your doctor before you start any new exercise or diet regimen to make sure it’s okay for your body.
Cutting calories is one of the best and fastest ways to lose weight. Not only does it allow you to be less strict with your diet, but it’s also relatively easy to stick to. The first week is usually the most difficult and you’ll feel hungry but it gets easier after the first week. Don’t believe us? There are plenty of mini docuseries on YouTube where the person eats only McDonald’s or vending machine foods and loses weight. (Please don’t do this, you might lose weight but it’s really unhealthy.) So please eat healthy!
In order to trim fat and lose the stomach pouch (one of the hardest areas to slim), you’ll definitely need to change how many calories you’re pumping into your body. How many you need to decrease will ultimately depend on your end game weight loss goals. In 3 months, you can lose anywhere from 12 to 24 pounds (safely) by cutting your caloric intake from 1,500 calories to 1,000. While it might be tempting to dip below 1,000 calories in an effort to lose more weight faster, don’t unless your doctor gives you the okay. Women should not consume less than 1,200 calories and 1,500 calories are recommended for men and active women.
Keeping a food diary before you begin will help you determine your usual daily calories. From there, you’ll deduct anywhere from 500 to 1,000 depending on how many calories you’re taking in.
You can also use apps like MyFitnessPal to keep track of all of this for you. The app allows you to put in your current weight, your level of activity, and your goals and when you want to reach them. From there, it’ll give you a suggest number of caloric intake. You can also log the foods and drinks you consume and the app will automatically account for how many calories are in the food. It also tracks other nutritional values such as sodium, sugar, and carbs. There are thousands if not more of foods and drinks logged into the system. And if you find something that isn’t in their log, you can scan the barcode and it’ll auto add the food item as well as its nutritional value.
Fuel your body
It should come as no surprise that the hardest part of getting into shape is sticking with the diet plan; especially if you’re used to eating junk food. Again, no judgments! We’re a big fan of snacks and chips. However, processed foods like chips, candy, bacon, and soda are directly correlated with weight gain according to a 2011 study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine. These kinds of foods and drinks are much harder for your body to break down and many are “empty calories” meaning that your body doesn’t actually get anything of nutritional value from it. So sorry soda lovers, but the Cokes have to go!
The same study did see a significant weight loss in those whose diets consisted of vegetables, fruits, nuts, yogurt, and whole grains. This is likely due to the reduction of caloric intake according to researchers. These foods are filling and tasty, but significantly lower in calories than a candy bar or slice of bacon.
Healthy options like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains are also better for your body. They supply your body with the nutrients that it craves and needs in order to look and feel its best. You’ll have more energy for your workout routines and you’ll experience less “crashes” once you cut out the sugary snacks like sodas and candy. You can also reach for fruit if you get a sugar craving without worrying about packing on the pounds or feeling fatigued later once the sugar high has worn off.
It’s also easier to stick to a plan that includes foods that are not only tasty, but are also lower in calories meaning that you can eat more and feel full. So while yeah you can certainly lose weight by eating only McDonald’s, you’ll be limited to one meal a day whereas if you opt for tasty, healthy foods you can eat three full meals and still have light snacks while losing weight.
Your body needs lean protein though as well so don’t cut out the meats entirely! Chicken and seafood are excellent sources of protein and fuel for your body. Plus, they’re not high in fats and other undesirable items like high sodium and sugar. Soy foods, low-fat dairy, eggs, and beans are also good additions to your diet that your body will love you for.
Putting your meals together
Before we show you a sample meal plan, we’d also like to talk a little bit about setting up your meal times. In order to get the most out of your diet, you’ll want to eat at regular intervals during the day and keep the calories spread evenly throughout the meals. Eating at regular times will not maximize your energy, but it’ll also help with hunger control. Your body will “learn” that it gets fed at certain times. This means that if you’re eating breakfast at 7 a.m. and lunch at 11:30 a.m., your body will patiently wait for food before reminding you that it’s hungry. And we probably don’t need to tell you that feeling hungry is one of the key factors in people slipping off their diets!
So let’s say that you need 1,500 calories a day in order to lose weight and still feel full. This means that each meal will average around 400-450 calories while leaving room for two snacks that range from 75 to 150 calories. It’s important to leave room for snacks; even if you’re not the kind of person who snacks. As your body adjusts to the new diet, you might feel hungry in between meals and a light snack can curb those feelings.
Sample meal plan
Keep in mind that this meal plan is only a suggestion; you can change it up and alter it as you see fit. It’s one that we’ve been using and enjoy but like we said, it’s not set in stone. You can also find a number of recipes on MyFitnessPal, Pinterest, and even Instagram so you can switch up your meals and never feel bored with your diet plan.
Also, it’s important to not skip meals. You might think that you’ll lose weight faster by cutting corners (meals), but the truth is you might actually gain weight because your body will start clinging and holding onto the nutrients it’s being given since you’re technically fasting during the other times. And like we said, regular meals will also help curb hunger control so you won’t be so tempted to reach for an unhealthy snack to settle your stomach.
If you’re one of those people who frequently skips breakfast, that needs to stop immediately. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and even if you’re running late for work, you should bring something along to eat at work. After all, your body has just finished fasting and it now needs fuel to perform tasks. If the meal below seems too “heavy” for you, then cut the portions some and work your way up gradually. Breakfast should be one of the heaviest meals that you have during the day.
- 6 ounces of nonfat Greek yogurt with ¾ cup of fresh fruit. We recommend the sugar free Greek yogurt. If you don’t like the taste of the sugar free option, the fruit will add sweetness to the yogurt.
- Two slices of whole-grain toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Peanut butter is a great source of protein and energy that your body will appreciate.
Caloric total: about 410
Let’s be honest here. How many of you work through lunch and just think to yourself, “I’ll eat when I get home?” Or perhaps you get so distracted by your workload that time passes and you completely forget to eat. You might think that reaching for a handful of pretzels or a bite of a sandwich is acceptable, but it’s not. Your body needs regular, full sized meals.
- 2 cups of mixed greens topped with ½ cup of diced or sliced bell peppers, ¾ cup strawberries, 5 walnut halves, and ½ cup of sliced cucumbers
- 3 ounces of grilled tuna or chicken for protein
- 1 tablespoon of low-fat salad dressing of your choice
Caloric total: 390
For most of us, dinner isn’t really a meal that gets skipped. However, it tends to be the heaviest of all of our other meals. As we mentioned earlier, breakfast should be the heaviest. Eating a really hearty dinner after you’ve picked at things all day might seem like it’s not really that bad of an idea, but eating a heavy meal just a few hours before bed can cause complications. Not only does your body take longer to break down food once you’ve gone to sleep, but it can also lead to indigestion and heartburn since you’re lying down.
- Vegetable lo mein prepared with 1 cup of whole-wheat spaghetti
- 2 cups of mixed vegetables (snow peas, mung bean sprouts, and carrots are good options) stir fried with the noodles
- ½ cup of tofu that’s been cubed
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of low-sodium soy sauce
Caloric intake: 405
When you eat the snacks will be entirely up to you. Personally speaking, we want one between our lunch and dinner. That 3 pm crash at work when you’re bored, tired, and ready to go home is usually a good time for a quick pick-me-up snack. Plus we found that this is usually when we’re reaching for a soda or a candy bar, so a healthy snack is a great substitute. We also find that we crave snacks while we’re relaxing on the couch watching Netflix after dinner.
- 1 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- One small banana cut into slices
- 5 whole-grain crackers with a teaspoon of peanut butter
- 1 cup of sliced veggies (celery, cucumbers, and peppers are good options)
- ¼ cup of hummus (low fat options are best)
- 2 ounces of fresh turkey
- Slice of whole-wheat bread
Caloric intake: 150 calories each
We’d like to start off by asking if you’re begun any fitness or diet regimens to get ready for summer or if the cold weather still has you feeling the winter blues and summer seems so far away. We also want to know what you think of our suggestions above. Do the food suggestions sound tasty? Does this sound like something you could easily stick to or do you see problems with the technique? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this!