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10 Hacks To Slim Up For This Summer

10 Hacks To Slim Up For This Summer

If your stomach is looking more like a keg than a six pack I have good news for you: science shows there are proven ways to slim up and get in shape in time for summer. Here are 10 of them you can start using today.

Commit to five minutes of exercise each day.

Psychologist Robert Cialdini says small commitments lead to lasting changes in his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” Another psychologist, BJ Fogg, agrees. If you want to slim up fast, make a firm commitment to exercise every day for just five minutes. Those five minute sessions add up, and many days you’ll end up doing much more than that.

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Replace all liquid calories with water.

Liquid calories are one of the biggest sources of excess weight gain. A single soda has around 150 calories and over a day’s worth of sugar. When you don’t burn that sugar off, your body converts it to fat. Replacing calories from soda, fruit juices, and liquid dairy products like milk with plain tea, coffee and water can save you hundreds of calories a day, which can help you lose a couple pounds every month or more.

Eat out no more than once per week.

The average restaurant meal has over 1,100 calories, and that doesn’t include drinks, appetizers and dessert! When you take into account all those things, you’re looking at around 2,000 calories for a single night eating out. Stay in and cook your own meal instead, or order a healthier option. Many restaurants now have low calorie menus.

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Use herbs and citrus to add flavor to food.

Cooking with oil, butter and salt leads to weight gain and potential health problems. Use lemons, limes and fresh herbs instead. Here are a few of my favorite flavor combinations:

  • Lemon juice, basil and Parmesan-reggiano cheese
  • Lime juice, cilantro and black pepper
  • Thyme, rosemary and a dash of sea salt

Do a 7-minute workout.

Research shows doing interval training workouts as short as seven minutes can have more benefit than doing long, steady-state cardio workouts. Here’s the trade-off: interval training is tough. During those seven minutes plan on sweating.

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Eat breakfast every day.

According to the National Weight Control Registry, the largest database in the world that tracks people who have lost weight and kept it off, eating breakfast every day can actually help you lose weight. Stick with healthy foods like eggs, oatmeal and fresh fruit.

Eat the right foods for weight loss.

A study of over 120,000 healthy women and men spanning 20 years found eating the following foods resulted in the most sustained weight loss:

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  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Yogurt

Avoid the right foods to slim up faster.

You also need to know the foods not to eat. Research shows eating fewer desserts, eating fewer fried foods, drinking fewer sugary beverages, eating more fish and eating out less were linked with the most weight loss.

Form a contingency plan for when you slip up.

Research conducted by Gollwitzer and colleagues showed implementation intentions, or “if-then” plans, are an effective strategy for helping you stick with your healthy behaviors when roadblocks arise (which they will). Another study found forming implementation intentions can help you reduce your fat intake. So write down several “if-then” statements to plan for the worst. For example, “If I go out to dinner this week, I’ll skip the bread and appetizer and order a salad with dressing on the side.”

Stop thinking in terms of “dieting.”

Diets don’t work. Research proves it. If you want to slim up that body, you need to start thinking in terms of lifestyle changes. You can lose weight when you go on a diet, but most of the time you will gain it back. Take baby steps every day and keep progressing. That’s the key to slimming up and staying slim for good.

Featured photo credit: djwhelan via flickr.com

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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