A gentle reminder: Swimsuit season is on the way

March 08, 2011|Lynn Little

Spring is right around the corner and not far behind will be summer and swimsuit season.

If you're like many people who worry over swimsuit season, you can try the swimsuit diet strategy. Rather than thinking diet, think tips for trimming the tummy, hips, thighs and love handles.

Research shows that we tend to eat the same amount of food regardless of the calorie content. Use this advantage and choose foods that are higher in fiber and water content in place of low-volume, calorie-dense foods.

A great example is to choose two cups of juicy grapes rather than cup of raisins for the same calories. Select fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables, clear soups, lean protein foods and whole grains for fewer calories but just as much volume as heavier or processed foods. Cookies, crackers and other packaged snack foods will pile on the calories and pounds quickly.

Our lifestyles are fast-paced. Multi-tasking is the rule, often while we're eating. If our focus is on work projects while we eat lunch, we're not likely to be in sync with our body's cues for hunger and a feeling of being full. Turn off the TV, walk away from the computer, get out of your car, remove distractions and sit at the table to eat.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest coined the term: Xtreme Eating to help people who dine out realize that high-fat, high-calorie, mega-portions are common. Many of us eat a third of our calories away from home, so when you're dining out, look for choices that are more healthful before ordering. Be conscious of the plus of eating at home more often.

Studies show that when more food is available, we eat more. Clear your cupboards at home and desk drawers at work of calorie-dense snacks. Put fresh fruits and veggies in the refrigerator, in clear containers at eye level, quick to grab and to remind you they're good-for-you. If it's too hard to give up salty and sweet pre-packaged snacks, consider 100-calorie snack packs. These snack packs do limit calories as long as you stop eating after one package.

Along with the tips for healthier eating is also important for you to be physically active. Physical activity and good nutrition work together for better health. To move toward a healthier weight and prevent weight gain, aim for about 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity on most days. If you have lost weight, you may need 60 to 90 minutes a day to maintain your weight loss. Maintaining an energy balance requires moving more and eating less.

Taking steps to make ourselves look better brings with it a bonus. Good eating and good health go hand-in-hand. There's a plenty of time to practice these tips before its warm enough to wear a swimsuit.

For more tips and ideas for moving more and eating less visit

Lynn Little is a family and consumer sciences educator with University of Maryland Extension in Washington County.

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