Drink more (water, that is)
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Make this summer the season that you finally start to hydrate enough. You’ll have more energy, you’ll eat less, your brain will work better—and that’s just a few of hydration’s many benefits. Carry a refillable water bottle with you everywhere you go, and sip often. This will help you cut back on sodas, beer, and wine, saving thousands of calories over the summer. And being low on fluids can lead your body to confuse thirst with hunger; next thing you know, you’re overeating and packing on pounds. The evidence is pretty clear—drink water, lose weight.
Take a hike
Hiking is more popular than ever before—no doubt thanks to stunning nature trails. In 2016, the National Park Service reported over 330 million recreational visits to their 59 national parks. According to Psychology Today, hiking can lower stress and reset the mind. See if any of these spectacular summer hikes are in your neighborhood or near your vacation destinations this summer. No? Find great hikes close by with help from the American Hiking Society or Trails.com.
As a money-saving reminder, citizens with disabilities and members of the military have free access to national parks, and senior citizens can purchase a lifetime pass from the Department of Recreation for $ 10. If you volunteer at least 250 hours through a federal park organization, you can also gain free access. More information on access can be found at the National Parks site. Ready to hit the trail? Read these 21 essential hiking tips.
Research shows that people who eat in dim light linger over their food more, and that can lead to overeating. Celebrity health expert Mehmet Oz, MD (yep, Dr. Oz), told ABC News that he strongly recommends the benefits of eating under the sun. Hello, picnics and summer barbecues. Just be sure to keep nutrition in mind when you dine al fresco by doubling up on veggies instead of starchy sides. Remember that chicken and seafood can be just as yummy on the grill as a burger or a hot dog. Another benefit to eating outside? The pace. Dr. Oz advises taking advantage of the tendency to linger outside in the summer. Include a summer activity after your meal. Catch, anyone?
Reset your habits
If you mostly focus on getting in shape for the summer and let those notions slide the rest of the year, try leveraging summer months to build better habits to carry you through the winter. Bestselling author, Gretchen Rubin recommends looking for a clean slate start to keep your mind aware of a new season’s possibilities. Use the change in the weather as an excuse to shed old, unhealthy habits like late-night snacking or relying on soda to rehydrate. Now that summer’s here, you can close the kitchen at 8:00 PM and turn to seltzer to keep your fluids in balance. Sociologist and productivity expert Jan Yager, PhD, devised a list of questions to ask yourself if you want to truly accomplish your goals. This goes for weight loss, summer reading or anything you hope to achieve. Here is her list of questions to ask yourself—a great place to start is: “What is my purpose here on earth?” Pondering of our larger purpose might help us to make better choices to keep us healthy for living it out. Speaking of habits, you need to check out these 5 ancient habits for modern day weight loss. (don’t knock it ’til you try it!)