Summer is coming right up and for a lot of people trying to lose body fat, thankfully, you have tons of options to choose from. Sure, you could do that local gym’s “Summer Shred” program and drop 20 pounds in a month with the latest fad diet.

Think back to the last time you did a program like that. You probably saw some initial weight loss, then gained it all back and then some afterwards. But at least you learned that you can’t thrive on it or live the rest of your life like that.

Your old way of eating and exercising wasn’t cutting it and a crash diet like a 30-day program isn’t sustainable. Since that 30-day program was designed to get drastic short-term results, you probably weren’t taught any skills to ensure long-term success.

A healthy diet is something you can consume without feeling deprived, you have the energy and vigor to live your life, and your body compensation and well-being are positively supported. When healthy eating habits and exercise are working together, people have more energy and better sleep.

Slowly eating real, whole foods has a massive influence on your body composition and how you feel day to day. The majority of people operate best within a general balanced approach to nutrition. Generally speaking, the most important aspect of all this is to maintain a focus on eating minimally processed foods. Allow for occasional splurges or indulgences. Expecting perfection would be naive.

To make things simpler, I’ve outlined some basic guidelines of healthy eating:

1. Eat slowly until you’re satisfied without multitasking every time you eat.

2. Eat protein at each meal and at most snacks.

3. Eat vegetables and/or fruits (fresh or frozen) at each meal.

4. Eat healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, almonds, chia seeds, etc.) at most meals.

5. Eat whole, minimally processed carbohydrates at most meals (around exercise especially).

6. Limit drinking calories (soda, fruit juice, alcohol, energy drinks).

7. Limit added sugar intake (artificial sweeteners, sports drinks when not active, sweetened teas).

There’s one final tip to bring this all together: Listen to your body. If you’re eating slowly and stopping when you feel satisfied, you’ll likely lose weight.

Jameson Skillings is a certified nutrition coach and certified personal trainer at Maine Pines Racquet and Fitness Center. He can be reached at:
[email protected]