My name is Lisa Tsakos, Registered Holistic Nutritional Consultant, corporate speaker and author. This blog provides professional advice from a nutrition and weight loss expert (me!) about corporate and family health. Here you'll find recipes and articles that address work-related challenges like eating on-the-go and maximizing your productivity with the right foods. You'll also find out about how you can help your children develop strong immune systems and healthy bodies. As a nutrition instructor, I often found myself thinking, "When I have kids, this is how I will feed them." With two toddlers, I have the opportunity to practice what I have been preaching and to try out my theories. So far, they seem to be working! Follow me on my journey and also on Twitter @NuVitalityHW.

4 Jun 2014

There is Still Time to Get Fit for Summer

Three months ago, I told myself I had plenty of time to get in better shape for summer. So, I hit the gym. Hard.  Then work got busier, then overwhelming, and here we are on June 4, in worse shape than I was in March. Are you in the same boat? Don't despair! I pulled this one out of the archives for us. Below are a few tips for losing a few pounds safely and fast.  

Whether you like it or not, the hot summer days are just around the corner. If those last few pounds aren’t coming off fast enough, before you convince yourself that you won’t mind wearing long pants all summer, try these effective weight loss and fitness techniques. They’ll help you get into tip top shape fast!

Eat dinner early:  Your body needs time to digest a meal, and let’s face it, after dinner most of us are watching television or reading - not burning up calories in a gym or on the soccer field. Eat most of your calories early in the day (that’s when you need them and the nutrients they provide) and the fewest calories at dinner. Keep dinner simple: a combo of protein (1/3 of your plate) and loads of veggies and salad (2/3 or more of your plate). If you’re longing for a late night bite, snack on plain yogurt or vegetables and bean dip.

Zig zag your calories:  A technique used by athletes, the idea behind this method is to keep your metabolism on its toes. When you’ve eaten approximately the same number of calories for a while, metabolism naturally slows down a little – or a lot if you’ve been eating fewer calories than your body needs to maintain itself. First, determine the minimum number of calories your body needs each day by multiplying your current weight by 10 (for example, if you weigh 185 pounds, multiplied by 10 amounts to 1,850 calories each day). Eat this many calories (or slightly less) from Monday to Friday, but splurge on Saturday and Sunday, eating about 300 or more extra calories. This helps to reset your metabolism and will actually burn more calories over time. Overindulging on calorie-dense healthy foods, such as avocado, salmon, and extra nuts in a trail mix will serve your body better than a slice of New York Cheesecake.

Lose the bread:  Everyone loves bread, but we can all live without it. With the exception of good quality, fiber-rich breads, a slice of toast provides little more than carbs and yeast, both of which can promote an imbalance of intestinal microflora leading to sugar cravings and yeast infections. Let’s not forget gluten, the main source of which is wheat. If you can’t do without, at least buy gluten- or yeast-free bread, and a ‘whole grain’ should always be listed as the first ingredient. 

Sweat:  Sweating remains one of the most effective ways to lose weight and detoxify the body through the skin at the same time. Cardiovascular exercise is beneficial since your heart and muscles are being conditioned while you burn calories. Engage in activities that use large muscles, such as jogging, running or swimming. Put on a sweat suit and an upbeat song on your MP3 player and dance around while cleaning your house. Hot yoga, a sauna, or steam room will help, too. Please remember to drink water throughout these activities to avoid dehydration.

 Use a stability ball:  Proven to be more effective than floor or mat exercises, a stability ball will help you achieve a six-pack in time for swimsuit season. Abs are small muscles and can be worked regularly, so don’t be afraid to do some crunches every day. To get a washboard tummy even faster, reduce some of your starchy carbs, especially in the evening.

Green tea:  The fat-burning benefits of green tea have been well-researched and proven. The most current research suggests that both caffeine and EGCG are needed to achieve green tea’s maximum fat-burning effect. Luckily, both are present in brewed green tea, so enjoy a polyphenol-rich cup daily. 

Since getting to the gym has been a challenge lately, nature has become my treadmill. A 20-30 minute run outside saves the 40 minute trip to and from the gym, and I keep 10 pound weights in my bedroom to sneak in a few more exercises while choosing what to wear or tidying up my room. 

Boy, am I grateful that 1-piece swim suits are back in style.