Nutritional tips to help get fit for summer

Doctors say you don't have to give up junk food entirely. Just make sure you are making healthy decisions. At least 90-percent of the time.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you’re looking to get fit for summer, you may be wondering where to begin – especially with so many different dieting tips out there.

But, Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic, said eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated.

“I think where we can start is alright, let’s think about limiting our hours in which we’re eating, let’s think about eating more fiber, more plants, less hyper-palatable foods, less processed foods,” said Kirkpatrick. “So that’s kind of a nice high-level way to start looking at how we’re going to make some dietary change.”

Kirkpatrick said that’s not to say you have to give up junk food completely, just make sure you are eating healthy 90% of the time.

And, don’t be fooled by those fad diets claiming you can lose a bunch of weight in a short period of time. They are not sustainable long term.

So, what diets actually work?

She said intermittent fasting can be a good option, which means you only eat during a certain time frame each day. For example, between the hours of 10 a.m. and six p.m.

The Mediterranean diet and DASH diet have also proven to work. Another helpful tip is to think about your hunger level before eating.

“Really just kind of listening to our hunger. Am I hungry right now or am I looking to feed emotion? Am I just dehydrated? So really taking the time from a mindfulness perspective of am I feeling true hunger and if I am feeling true hunger, I am going to eat,” said Kirkpatrick. “But I am going to eat until I no longer feel that hunger, which means eating slow, chewing more, taking out distractions and being able to stop before I feel that feeling of fullness.”

Kirkpatrick said it may also be tempting to set a deadline to reach your goal weight, but that’s not always attainable. Instead, focus on the physical changes to your body, like improvements to your waistline or fitting into old jeans.