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5 Ways to Lose Weight This Summer

Saturday, June 02, 2012

 

Yes, it's bikini season, but moreover, it's time to take advantage of healthier local options and easier exercise to lose those extra pounds. Photo: planetc1/flickr.

Many of us think that winter is the toughest time to watch our weight (or be inspired by New Year's resolutions to lose those five pounds), but summer is both challenging and optimal for losing weight in healthy and productive ways. Greg Salgueiro, MS, RD, LDN, Lifestyle Medicine Program Manager at the Women's Medicine Collaborative, shared five steps to smart, summer weight loss. 

Set realistic goals

The first step to accomplishing anything worthwhile is to set a realistic goal.  Too many people set unrealistic expectations for themselves, especially when it comes to weight loss.  Summer is a great time to get outside, to spend time with family and friends and to relax and rejuvenate.   Take a look at your plans for the summer and then establish an action plan that motivates you!  Here are some easy tips to incorporate into your schedule.

Grill more vegetables

With summer comes more cookouts and lots of opportunity to consume more calories.  However, this is also a great time of year to visit local farmers markets and farm stands for fresh, local produce.  Vegetables provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help you feel satisfied and they don’t have many calories!  So support your local farmer and focus on grilling some healthy vegetables at your next outing.  Marinate your vegetables ahead of time with some balsamic vinegar and your favorite herbs.

Stay well hydrated

As the weather heats up the temptation to consume more beverages goes up with it.  Not a problem if your beverage of choice provides low or no calories.  But if you are sipping on sweet tea, lemonade or soda all day you could be consuming anywhere from 50 to 150 calories in one glass (8 ounces).  And if you prefer alcohol containing beverages you are probably closer to 150 or 200 calories per 8 ounces.  A few drinks at a weekend outing and you just consumed as many calories as a Bacon Double Cheeseburger (not that we would recommend that)!

Not only are there a lot of empty calories, the alcohol, caffeine and sugar don’t help you re-hydrate well either.  Select pure water, unsweetened herbal iced tea or club soda.  Want a little flavor?  Add sliced oranges, lemons, or limes to your water.  If you really like some iced tea, make your own using black tea, green tea or herbal tea…just avoid all the sweeteners.

Move more

Summer is a great time to get outside and increase your physical activity.  When was the last time you went for a bike ride, rollerblading or swimming?  See if you can plan in a little more movement with the nice weather.  If you’re going to the beach or having a picnic, bring a Frisbee, ball and glove or other game that you can play with family and friends.  After a meal, go for a walk or play a little basketball outside with the kids.  How about yard work…all movements count, so do a little gardening or wash your car by hand.  Look for enjoyable activities that you can add to your summer routine.  Also, remember to stay hydrated (see tip above).

Get adequate sleep

More sunlight may also lead to the desire to stay up a little later.  Lack of sleep leads to an overall feeling of fatigue which may discourage you from exercising.  Also, most people find they crave unhealthy foods that are high in sugar when they are tired.  So resist the temptation to stay up later as it may cause you to move less and eat more!  Keep regular bed times, make sure your bedroom temperature is comfortable for sleeping and avoid caffeine and alcohol right before bed.

It’s important to find a healthy balance of proper nutrition, adequate movement and necessary rest & recovery.  Pay attention to your body and find health enhancing ways to reward yourself for your hard work.

 

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