Slim down for summer

Here’s a valuable guide to losing weight quickly

By Barbara Pierce


Summer’s almost here.

If you’d like to drop a few pounds so you’ll look awesome in that amazing sundress, your new shorts or bikini, or maybe there’s even a wedding gown in your June plans, read on.

Registered dietitian Crystal Hein offers some no-fail tips for you to look better quickly. Hein is the owner and operator of Crystal Clear Nutrition in Herkimer.

“Never skip breakfast,” she said. “Or any meal for that matter! Skipping meals slows your metabolism. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Listen to your body’s natural cues.”

Studies show that people who skip breakfast are much more likely to be overweight than those who eat this most important meal of the day. It’s an important meal because it gets your metabolism going.

“Skipping meals may cause you to make poor food choices because you’re starving,” she added. “If you skip a meal, your body will switch to starvation mode, meaning it will hold onto any calories you do take in.”

So instead of skipping a meal, make the right choices about what to eat.

“Make sure to include a good quality protein at every meal, like eggs, nuts, peanut butter, chicken, beans, fish, or milk products. This will help keep you full and satisfied,” she advised.

For protein-rich snacks to keep your metabolism fueled, good choices are a hard-boiled egg, a protein bar with at least 10 grams of protein or a stick of string cheese with a few whole-grain crackers, Greek yogurt, or peanut butter on celery.

Get enough sleep

Recent studies have shown a link between inadequate sleep and weight gain.

Ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger, increases with sleep deprivation and leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and makes us feel full, decreases with inadequate sleep, according to Hein.

“It’s recommended that adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep a night. And if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t have the energy to be as physically active as you should every day. Avoid caffeine late in the day to help you fall asleep at night.”

Be careful when eating out. “This is obvious,” said Hein. Take that basket of warm, wonderful smelling bread, add a large plate of food, throw in some good friends and a glass of wine, and you have the perfect storm for overeating.

“Instead, when eating out, choose baked, broiled or grilled lean protein sources. Make half your plate vegetables. Ask the server for alternatives to French fries and other high-fat side dishes. Get your salad dressing and other extras (like sour cream) on the side,” she suggested.

Also, instead of eating out as a get together with friends, go to a coffee shop or go bowling.

“Limit your alcoholic beverages, as they can be a source of extra calories,” she added. And drinking alcohol fuels overeating by loosening your inhibition and making you less aware of what — and how much — you’re eating.

Be physically active

“Start a planned daily exercise routine,” recommended Hein. “Find something you like to do. Make time to do it most days of the week. Sometimes it helps to find a partner to keep you motivated.”

“Do something that fits into your day and do it the time of the day when you feel your best. Some people like early morning workouts and others prefer later afternoon workouts,” she said. “The best workout is the one that works for you and your schedule. Start slow and increase time, intensity or frequency as you go. Gradually increase each of these.”

“Walking is the best exercise. It’s free and can be done almost anywhere. Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress.”

While offering these tips for quick weight loss, Hein adds, “trying to lose weight quickly isn’t the solution.” Because, when you lose weight quickly, you usually put it back on before long. That’s because you haven’t learned to make healthier food choices.

“Instead, focus on the long-term benefits of losing weight,” she suggested. “You’ll live a longer and fuller life, you’ll feel better, and you’ll have more confidence and more energy.”

“Make a long-term commitment to being healthy and try not to focus too much on the number on the scale,” she advised.

She said low-calorie diets aren’t healthy, because when we limit food volume, essential nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamin and minerals that our bodies need will also be limited.

“Choosing nutrient-dense foods will supply your body with energy, protein and essential vitamins and minerals you need for your body to function at its best,” Hein said.

As a dietitian-nutrition educator and coach, Hein provides nutrition and behavior counseling for general nutrition and wellness needs, weight loss, and various medical conditions for adults and children.