With spring weather more reliably upon us, it's hard not to think about the swim season ahead. And with the swim season ahead, it's hard not to think about your quest for a swimsuit – and a body that you'll feel comfortable putting in that swimsuit. All of a sudden, that second helping of dessert may feel like a bad idea. The quest to be the best version of yourself – the 5-pound lighter version of yourself – begins today.
But that quest shouldn't end on Memorial Day. After all, once Labor Day rolls around, you probably don't want to gain that 5 pounds back. Do you? If your answer is no, aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week ahead of Memorial Day. This approach will lead to a healthy and reasonable amount of weight loss across a month that is actually sustainable. Better yet, if you do it by simply adopting each of these new habits each week – while keeping the habits you've adopted from the previous weeks – it's relatively easy. Just follow along:
Week 1: Drop a (daily) drink.
Most of us drink more than water on a daily basis, which means we can probably all stand to do away with some "empty calories" in their drinkable forms. Think through the beverages you consume each day, such as lattes, juice, soda, sports drinks, wine and beer. Can you live without one of these drinks? Then drop it from your daily menu and drop at least 200 calories each day as well.
Week 2: Lose a snack.
Snacks are not always premeditated, but they tend to find us when we are starving, distracted or stressed. As a result, snacks are typically palatable, but devoid of much nutritional value. So this week, commit to dropping those snacks that you tend to eat due to reasons other than hunger. If you know you'll be hungry at 3 p.m. every day, pack something healthy like a serving of almonds, Greek yogurt or edamame – and stick to it.
Week 3: Swap in some fruits or veggies.
Most Americans don't come close to consuming the daily recommended serving of fruits and vegetables. So, swap some in to your daily routine – and swap out something less nutritionally valuable. For example, instead of serving bread with dinner, serve a second vegetable. Instead of throwing a granola bar into your purse or backpack, grab some dried fruit.
Week 4: Move 20 minutes more.
Even if you are already in good shape, upping your activity level is conducive to healthy weight loss. And, it gets you off the couch and away from that bag of chips in the pantry. Make it your goal to move 20 minutes more each day. That can be as easy as taking your dog on two 10-minute walks, sneaking in a quick run before work or doing some pushups and situps while you watch a show at night.