It’s Time to Shed Sweaters and Coats – Get Ready for Shorts

— Written By Lethia Lee and last updated by Cindy Nance

With summer just around the corner, you may be wondering what last-minute steps you can take to get your body in shape. While we need to strive for a strong, healthy body year-round, the thought of baring all in a revealing swimsuit may be enough of a motivating factor to finally do what it takes to say goodbye to those extra pounds we acquired during the winter months. A few changes to your diet can help cut enough calories to get rid of those unwanted pounds. Avoid drinking your calories. Research has shown that liquid calories don’t satisfy us the same way that solid foods do. Cut back on eating cake and other sweets; most of us like something sweet after a meal, but consider cutting out sweets and desserts for the next few months. If you crave something sweet, reach for some fresh fruit, or get a piece of sugar-free gum to satisfy that sweet tooth. Leave a little on your plate! Most of us were taught at a young age to clean our plates so we eat every bite of food on our plates even if we are full. Better still, just don’t put it on your plate. Eating the right amount of your daily-recommended fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and grains is all we really should have to eat. You will see those extra calories from not cleaning your plate disappear if you do it often enough.

Snack smart – we have become a nation of constant snackers. We snack at every chance we get, regardless of whether or not we are truly hungry. You may be snacking while reading this article! Snacks can be part of a well-balanced diet, but choosing the right snacks at the right time can make a big difference when it comes to healthy eating. Have you ever gone to the refrigerator, opened the door and just looked, and didn’t see what you wanted? You were supposed to be hungry, and if you were hungry you would have left with something to eat. There are different things we can be hungry for but we assume that it’s food when truthfully it’s not; we could be lonely, sad, depressed, or have some other reason that makes us want to eat. It is important to determine what you are hungry for before you make the choice that it’s for food.

For more information contact Lethia Lee, EFNEP Assistant with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at 910-592-7161.