How can I lose weight in the summer?

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Taking advantage of the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available in the summer can help you lose weight. Eating more fruits and vegetables can decrease your calorie consumption by 25%. Drink plenty of water, and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. Eliminating just one 12-ounce can of soda a day can lead to a 16-pound weight loss over a year. The warmer weather also allows for more exercise options, but be careful not to become overheated. It's best to exercise during the early-morning and late-evening hours to decrease heat and sun exposure.
Food is often the focus of our summer entertaining, and it's easy to lose sight of how much you're consuming. There are a few tricks to stay on track. For instance, if you're invited to a barbeque or picnic, bring something healthy, like a salad, so at least you'll have one go-to dish. Take just a little bit of the foods you want and sit and eat them, so you won't mindlessly munch standing by the buffet. After eating, go for a walk to take your mind off getting more food. If you're thirsty, drink water; add some citrus fruits to lend some flavor. You can still eat your favorite summer foods, such as lobster and corn on the cob, but skip the butter.

For exercise, try different outdoor activities, like swimming, bicycling, or hiking in the park.

Weight Watchers offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss that can help you reach your goals.

With summer time comes travel, vacation, eating out, and  inactivity due to the heat. All form a great combination for weight gain if you’re not careful! If you’re traveling, set aside time to do something to get your heart rate up, use your hotel’s fitness center if available, or choose to take the steps instead of an elevator. If on vacation, plan something that is fun and active, and make it part of your trip. Go on an excursion that requires some hiking, or rent bicycles along the beach. When you eat out, keep it light, and limit your alcohol intake. If it’s really hot outside schedule your activity so you can enjoy the cooler parts of the day.

Remember, weight loss is all about caloric balance. If you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in, you’ll lose weight – vice versa.

Summer offers so many great ways to lose weight and get healthier! The weather alone boosts energy and motivation. Here are some great ways to shed a few pounds while having a lot of fun:

  • See if your community offers fun summer classes and workshops. Many park districts can get you moving with classes like outdoor boot camps, Zumba, dance lessons like the tango and waltz, martial arts and so much more!  If you don't know where to find information like this, call your local Chamber of Commerce.
  • Check out some healthy summer cooking classes. Grocery stores like Whole Foods offer demos and classes that are seasonal and good for you! The best part about this is that the classes will use seasonal cooking meathods like grilling and seasonal fruits and vegetables (which are less expensive than non-seasonal items).  Plus, cooking classes are typically offered all year round so keep on going during different seasons to get more ideas!
  • Visit local farmers' markets! Not sure what to do with all of those fruits and veggies? Ask the vendor for some healthy cooking tips!
  • Take your workouts outside! If you don't have a yard, find a nearby park. It doesn't take any equipment to go on a good, heart rate-raising walk or run or to do some squats and pushups! The only things you'll need are water and sunblock! Aim for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Make it a point to walk as much as you can. There's nothing like good, fresh air to not only get you moving and burning calories but it can also help clear your mind. Take a friend or your dog if you want company!
  • Things to look out for and stay away from: ice cream and sugary iced coffee drinks. Substitute those by freezing some fruit like raspberries and strawberries and pairing them with some healthy lowfat yogurt (which you can also freeze). Switch to iced coffee (or better yet, iced green tea) with a splash of lowfat milk and a natural sweetner like stevia if you need it.

Before summer ends, start planning for a fun, healthy fall to keep you moving through the rest of the year!

    Marisa Moore
    Nutrition & Dietetics

    Summer is the perfect time to focus on weight loss. The warmer weather and extended daylight hours naturally boost the desire to get out and do stuff. With this in mind, you should also be aware that there are a few diet disasters lurking in the park, at the corner coffee shop, and maybe even your own back yard. Here are a few summer situations to keep an eye out for and ways to avoid them…

    Frequent frozen coffee drinks

    While these drinks can bring cool relief to a hot summer day, they can be calorie bombshells. A typical frozen coffee drink comes in at just over 400 calories for a 16 oz. serving, which can throw a wrench into your weight management plan. Enjoy your favorite frozen coffee drink with care: order it with nonfat milk and skip the whip (whipped cream that is)!

    BBQs

    BBQs are built for grazing. Research shows that the more food we have in front of us, the more we tend to eat. Survey the scene and choose your favorites. Fill at least half your plate with veggies (think grilled veggies, three bean salad, or a salad with low calorie dressing). Opt for lean protein options like grilled chicken or fish. Throughout the day be sure to spend more time mingling, swimming, dancing, or playing volleyball than you do guarding the food table. 

    Mixed Drinks

    Instead of a 500 calorie pina colada opt for sparkling water or lower calorie drinks. Try  a wine spritzer (equal parts wine to club soda) which weighs in at just 80 calories per serving and half the alcohol of a regular glass of wine. You may also opt for a light beer at about 80 calories for the bottle.  

    Summer Salads

    Potato salad, pasta salad and coleslaw are all likely to make an appearance at the next BBQ. Salad implies health but just a half cup of potato salad can pack in 200 calories! Lighten your potato salad by cutting the mayo in half or subbing with nonfat plain Greek yogurt. You can also add some tangy mustard for extra flavor versus fat.   

    Summer is all about getting out and enjoying the weather, your family and friends. Don't let weight woes bring you down.  
    Ruth Frechman
    Nutrition & Dietetics
    To lose weight visit a farmers market and take advantage of summer fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients.  Include fruits and vegetables in breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. Don't forget physical activity. Commit to 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day to burn calories.  Walking 1 mile a day will burn 100 calories.  Fruits and vegetables will fill you up and not out.  Slowly but surely the weight will come off.

    Thankfully, it's not too late to shed those extra pounds you've been battling since New Year's Day.

    "This time of year offers us a greater variety of healthy foods to choose from which makes this an ideal time to lose and keep weight off," says Lynn Goldstein, R.D., of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

    Wahida Karmally, P.H., R.D., C.D.E., C.L.S., a registered dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, adds that "Every season offers us new ways to improve our diets and the summertime is no exception."

    Lynn Goldstein and Wahida Karmally offer the following tips to help trim the fat this summer:

    • Take advantage of the warm weather to increase your exercise regimen. Play a game of Frisbee®, volleyball or tennis; take long walks; or swim laps.
    • Make seasonal vegetables the focus of your meal. Indulge in salads and steamed vegetables. Season vegetables with spices, lemon and balsamic vinegar, a little Parmesan cheese and low-fat dressings. Make these the largest items on your plate and add small portions of protein and/or starch.
    • Grilling your food is a great way to add flavor while reducing fat and calories. Grilling meats allows some fat to drip off, which lowers fat and calorie content. Try wrapping fish or chicken in foil and add vegetables and seasonings to the grill.
    • Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruits. Bypass cakes, cookies and ice cream and opt for fresh berries, melons and even some of the more exotic fruits that are available instead. Fruit is fat-free, high in nutrients and fiber, and a natural energizer.
    • Try "Calorie Banking." Cookouts with family and friends should not signal a diet disaster. By cutting back on your calories a week before special occasions, you can indulge a little more and enjoy yourself. However, try to restrict high-fat foods such as potato chips and mayonnaise-based salads.
    • Stay away from empty calories. It is important to drink plenty of fluids during these warm summer months but juice, whole milk, regular soda and alcoholic beverages are high-calorie drinks that you want to stay away from. Alcoholic beverages contain empty calories and may stimulate your appetite. Instead fill up on water, seltzer, juice diluted with seltzer, low-fat milk or iced tea.

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.