Marc Royce From Health magazine
Its a summer mystery: We have fresher produce and longer days for workouts, so why do we end up cursing the scale this time of year? “Your schedule isnt as structured in the summer, and its full of activities that come with excuses to eat,” says Healths “Celeb Chefs Diet Secrets” columnist eating an a.m. meal is important for staying slim. Make it easy by assembling a fruit salad, packed with filling fiber, the night before. “Eating a juicy fruit like watermelon is like having a long, thirst-quenching drink of juicebut with fiber,” Bethenny says. Just add protein (like nut butter on whole-wheat bread) because a fruit-only breakfast will make your blood sugar spike and crash, leaving you hungry. “Or make a low-fat frittata with veggies,” she says. Eating more protein-rich foods like eggs and limiting refined carbs helps burn body fat, research shows.
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Slip into something flattering (8 a.m.)
OK, the summer temptation is to throw on something flowy and loose-fitting. But dont underestimate the power of a body-skimming sundress, tailored capris, or fitted shorts, Bethenny says. Seeing (and feeling) the way your clothes fit reminds you of how you look and what youre eating. Headed to the beach or pool? Throw shorts or a sarong over your bathing suit, rather than an oversize cover-up.
Bag some produce (8:30 a.m.)
Get in the habit of swinging by the nearest farmers market on your way to work or during your morning errands, so you can snag a good range of fruits and veggies. Why? People who include a wider variety of sweets in their diets eat more (and weigh more), but those who eat a wider variety of vegetables weigh less, says Susan B. Roberts, PhD, director of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and author of The Instinct Diet: Use Your Five Food Instincts to Lose Weight and Keep it Off.
Chill out (10:30 a.m.)
Cool off and satisfy midmorning munchies by eating your favorite snacks frozen. Almost anything can go in the freezer, Bethenny says: grapes, a Balance Bar, even a mini-Snickers.
Bonus: Youll eat your icy treat more slowly (ever try to gobble down a frozen-solid Snickers?), so it will last longerand youll be satisfied with way less. Plus, fruit freezes especially well, so its a great way to use up extras if you go overboard at the market one week.
You can also turn frozen fruit into smoothies, which are especially filling because theyre higher in volume than just plain fruit (thanks to the added liquid and the air that gets blended in). Bethenny suggests blending your favorite fruits with water and a splash of apple juice; add nonfat yogurt if you want some energizing protein.
Head outside for lunch (noon)
Know this: We all eat more in air-conditioning than we do in blazing heat: “Warm weather naturally leads a person to drink more liquids and eat less food to help the body cool off,” says Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.
Skip supersalty foods even if you dont normally restrict your salt intake, Bethenny says, to avoid getting bloated in the heat. That doesnt mean you have to eat a dry turkey sandwich, though. “Even pizza can be a good skinny lunch if its loaded with veggies on whole-wheat crust,” she says. Plus, research shows dairy products like cheese can help flatten your tummy.
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Sip smart (3 p.m.)
Craving something, anything? You just might be dehydrated. “In hot weather, we often think were hungry when were really thirsty,” Bethenny says. Its easy to down hundreds of calories in one drink (a Starbucks lemonade has 250 calories; a Dunkin Donuts Coffee Coolatta, 330), so what should you sip when you cant stand plain water? Fill your glass three-fourths of the way with club soda, and top it off with cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. Other ideas: Squeeze a few lemons in your water and add a touch of sweetener, or have a cup of green tea over ice: Its catechins help your body burn more ab fat.
Squeeze in a quickie calorie-burn (4:30 p.m.)
Didnt get a chance to do a long workout this morning? Just 10 minutes of jumping rope or biking around the block can burn calories and energize you. But, first, be sure to check the heat index; its a measure of how hot it really feels based on both the temperature and the humidity, says Fabio Comana, exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. When the heat index is 90 degrees or higher, its safest for you to move your workout indoors. If its between 80 and 90 degrees, you can play outside, but youll dehydrate faster than you will in lower temps, so drink plenty of water all afternoon before your workout. “While youre warming up, have another 7 to 10 ounces,” Comana says. And keep sipping H2O throughout your workout.
Have a healthier happy hour (5:30 p.m.)
No need to turn down drinks with your friends just because youre in get-slim mode. Start with club soda or water, and have your first drink when everyone else is ordering their second round.
And watch what you order. Sweet and frozen drinks are major calorie traps, but they can be slimmed down. If you love piña coladas, for instance, try this: Ask for yours to be made with a shot of clear rum and a splash each of coconut milk and pineapple juice blended with enough ice to fill half the glass; if you want more liquid, add some water and half of a sweetener packet. Instead of a frozen margarita, Bethenny asks for a little tequila over lots of ice (to add volume without calories), with just a splash of flavor from the frozen-margarita machine and some lime. Or she makes her own famous Skinnygirl Margarita). “You want something strong enough so youll sip, not guzzle,” she says.
Fill up on this (7 p.m.)
Keep healthy staples, like the makings for gazpacho, in your fridge. “Gazpacho is just about the worlds most perfect food,” Bethenny says. Its packed with antioxidants, its superfilling, and it has olive oil, which is full of fat-fighting monounsaturated fatty acids. Enjoy it with some hydrating cucumber salad, tasty pita bread, and protein-rich hummusanother fat-burner, thanks to the ab-fat-reducing resitant starch in the chickpeas.
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Craving ice cream? (8:30 p.m.)
Have ice cream. Instead of settling for a less-satisfying low-fat substitute, eat the real stuff, Bethenny saysjust get a petite scoop. (A bonus: It gives you conjugated linoleic acid, a type of unsaturated fat in meat and dairy products that helps you lose ab fat.)
“Dont walk around or talk on the phone,” she says. “Its a waste. Youll finish your ice cream and not even know what happened.” Serve it in a small ramekin or teacup, and eat with a demitasse spoon. Youll get more bites and make the treat last longer. (To avoid sugar overload, Bethenny says save your ice-cream break for a night when you havent already indulged in a sweet cocktail.)
Do this for a fat-burning sleep (9:30 p.m.)
Relax with some light yoga stretches, or another activity that calms you, to squelch late-night snacking and slow you down mentally and physically before bed. “It wont necessarily make you not hungry, but it calms the food noise in your head and helps you mentally ‘switch lanes so youre not so focused on food,” Bethenny says.
A good nights sleep helps you stay skinny, toowomen who sleep five hours or fewer a night weigh an average of 5 1/2 pounds more than women who sleep at least seven hours, according to a study from Case Western Reserve University. (One possible reason: Lack of sleep has been shown to interfere with the balance of hormones that control appetite.) To ensure quality zzzs, power-down an hour or two before bed.
“Dont watch TV in bed, dont bring the computer into the bedroom, throw your BlackBerry out the window,” Bethenny says. In fact, a Japanese study found that going online or watching TV before bed can actually interfere with your quality of sleep. Translation: Letting screens go dark earlier in the evening leads to a more rejuvenating sleep. And that will give you a better balance of hunger hormonesmaking it easier than ever for you to stay naturally slim.