6 Summer Slimdown Tricks

Summer is right around the corner! Here are six strategies that can help you lose weight--and keep it off.


1. Consider the buddy system.
Some people do better if they have a friend, spouse, therapist, someone they can talk to about successes or setbacks. Ideally, this person is nonjudgmental and unconditionally supportive. If you thrive with a little help from your friends, go ahead and ask for their help and guidance.

2. Slow your eating. Taste your food. Savor the texture. Put your fork down between every two bites and sip water during your meal.

3. Keep sugarless gum always on hand. Sugarless gum can give you a hit of something sweet, keep your mouth busy (so you'll be less likely to snack), and clean your teeth when you can't brush.

4. Shock your tongue. Be liberal with spices-chile peppers, curry, hot salsa, wasabi. Hot and spicy flavors encourage slower eating. Hot (temperature-wise), low-calorie beverages can also help you feel satisfied and hydrated. When you're bored, it's possible to nurse a hot cup of skim latte, green or herbal tea, or diet hot cocoa for much longer than it would take to eat a snack.

5. Get enough sleep. During sleep, our bodies rest and regenerate, so we can be strong and clear-headed the following day-clear-headed enough to make wise food choices. What's more, sleep deprivation causes an imbalance in certain hormones, including ghrelin (which causes weight gain) and leptin (which decreases appetite). When we don't get enough sleep, our levels of ghrelin go up (more weight gain) and levels of leptin go down (so we are hungrier). Don't think of it as downtime, but as another important facet of your nutrition plan.

6. Donate your "fat clothes." Losing weight is a major accomplishment. As soon as an item of clothing is too big for you anymore, give it away. Don't keep it in your closet as part of your "just in case" wardrobe. It is easier to back-slide if you have bigger pants to slide into.

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