Lifestyle, Diet, Health

11 Easy Strategies To Fight Summer Weight Gain

Summer…The time of vacations and outdoor fun. Who can actually gain weight during such time you may ask? Well for most of us, summer is not only volleyball on the beach or hiking in the mountains. But it’s also a time of countless picnics, BBQs and parties. And let’s be honest – most of us just let ourselves go on these occasions since everyone wants to enjoy their free time away from work or school. As a result – a couple of ‘bulky’ souvenirs brought back home from a vacation. But no worries, ladies and gentlemen! You can still keep your weight in check if you stick to a set routine, stay active and take advantage of in-season produce to eat healthier during the summer.  Here is a list of strategies that can keep those excessive pounds at bay allowing us to still take the most of summertime.

1. Don’t Go Hard On Your Lemonade And Stay Hydrated.

It’s easy to drink a tall glass of cool lemonade or iced tea during hot sunny days. And who will say no to a cold can of soda or some exotic cocktail during BBQs and parties? But if you want to avoid gaining weight, just stay away from those high-calorie beverages as you can easily drink your daily energy intake while the night is still young. But it doesn’t mean you should stay dry. In fact, drinking water is particularly important during long, hot summer days. Keep a bottle of cool water with some citrus juice or a bit of fresh mint close and you will stay hydrated for zero calories!

2. Take It Easy With BBQs

Summer is a season of BBQs and picnics. But we all know that the food we’re offered there is far from being healthy. Burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork and ribs, pasta salads, chips, and dips – all of these contain large amount of calories and saturated fat. It doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourself, though! If you are a host, you have control over the menu and you can go healthy choosing lean chicken and turkey for burgers and place colorful platters of fresh fruit and veggies on your table. If you are a guest, you can bring a healthy dish with you so you’ll know you won’t be starving if you want to stay away from fatty burgers. But don’t go hard on yourself – you can taste some of your favorite BBQ foods, just have a limit and make the company your focus and not the food!

3. Choose Fresh In-Season Produce

The warm season of the year offers us plenty of fresh veggies, fruit, and berries. Take advantage of that! When you choose what to eat, fill at least half of your plate with veggies and only then go for some chicken breast or whole grains. As for fruit and berries, you can eat them as a snack or dessert. Just don’t forget that even though fruit is healthy and good for your body, they still can contain many calories, so unless you are on veggies and fruit diet, be mindful of the amount of them you consume. You don’t want to eat more calories than your body needs, even if those calories come from fruit!

4. Vacation Smart

Whether you stay in your hometown going to some local bars, visit carnivals or go away on your vacation, stick to your healthy diet. First thing you want to do before going to a restaurant is checking its menu online to see what healthy options you have. You will be more likely to avoid bad things then. Once at a bar, go for some lean protein and side salad. It can mean grilled chicken or fish or some shrimps. And don’t forget that alcoholic beverages contain tons of calories as well! The same goes for carnivals – forget hot dogs with mayonnaise and funnel cakes and say hello to chicken or turkey gyros or chicken kebab instead and. to settle a sweet tooth, snack on kettle corn samples. (Just one sample, though.) As for beach trucks – most of them have grills, so ask to grill you some chicken breast and add some salad with vinaigrette. This can save you over 200 calories and lots of fat.

5. Go Easy On Ice Cream And Frozen Yogurt

Eating a bucket of ice cream is not the best way to end your summer day if you want to look good in that bikini. Ice cream is usually packed with fat and calories, especially if you add different toppings, peanut butter, Oreo cookie, some roasted nuts, and fudge. Frozen yogurt is said to be healthier, but it’s not quite right. Natural yogurt is good for you, of course, but frozen one has tons of added sugar and it’s also lacking the probiotic benefit from natural yogurt with active cultures. It can actually contain more calories than ice cream. Go for a small cone of your favorite ice cream or a scoop of frozen yogurt without toppings, or better yet, indulge in some raspberry sorbet at 150 calories a serving.

6. Track Your Exercise And Keep A Food Journal

Tracking your calorie intake and recording your physical activity is a great way to lose and maintain your weight. Before going to a summer event, first, do your homework and check the number of calories, fat, and sodium in the food you crave. In that way you will be more likely not to go for a second helping or even better – you might be dissuaded to eat something bad at all. Then look into your journal. If you skipped your morning workout and ate a bit too much, you might not want to overeat during the party. On the other hand, if you were active and ate healthy all week, you might be okay to indulge a little. The main idea is to eat healthy at least 80 percent of the time and let yourself give in to your temptation no more than 20. In any case, journaling will help you to be mindful of what you do and eat and that will help you choose what is good for you.

7. Substitute The Temptation

It’s summer and, of course, you don’t want to deprive yourself of your favorite food all the time and it is not necessary. What you need to do is to eat just a bit of what you crave and then fill your plate with something that might be a wiser choice. For example, if you are an ice cream lover, just take a few bites and if you are still not satisfied, have some frozen juice or lemon ice instead. In that way, you will still have what you want not affecting your weight.

8. Appreciate Every Bite

It’s known that people who eat slowly and savor every bite tend to feel satisfied with eating less, while those who wolf down their food go for second helpings. Try to slow down, chew carefully and take a moment to think about the food you eat – you will not only be full after eating less food, but you will also help your digestive system.

9. Allow Yourself A Cheat Day

Staying in control with what you eat is very important for both your health and weight. But don’t be too harsh on yourself and give yourself permission to let loose every now and then. Take day or two when you can splurge a bit. You can sample local cuisine if you’re out of town or eat an ice cream cone with some sprinkles. But try to keep your dietary goals in mind and stay within some limits – you don’t want to let all the hard work you’ve done so far be in vain.  But having some cheat days from time to time will help you fight stress and be less likely to overdo with food the rest of the time.

10. Stick To Your Summer Routine

Having some free time on your hands can easily turn you into a couch potato and before long you will find yourself traveling from bed to computer with regular stops at the fridge. Don’t let that happen! Avoid sleeping in or staying up late, eat meals at regular times, keep up with your exercise plan and keep yourself busy. Plan activities each day, find a summer job or get into volunteering for a cause dear to you, like at your local animal shelter. Staying active will give you a sense of accomplishment too. Try to also limit your screen time to no more than 2 hours per day – this includes TV, computer, video games, and your mobile phone.

11. Stay Active During Summer

Summer is a great time for getting more physically active as the days are longer and the weather is warmer. So apart from planning your day and being busy, don’t forget your exercise regimen.  For some people, it’s difficult to work out because of the heat. The solution will be to take your exercise indoors or move your workouts outdoors in the early morning or late in the evening. For those who don’t like gyms, it’s a great time to join a pool, go on brisk walks, jog, ride a bike, go for a hike – the limit is the sky! Choose the activity which suits you best, and have fun with your friends and family. Don’t forget to play and run around with your kids or pets. Also consider joining an instructional or informal sports league, like baseball, soccer, softball, or think about becoming a member of a bike group or jogging club. All this will help you develop a routine, stay busy and keep in good shape.

With so many wise and non-depriving ways to fight summer weight gain there is no need to avoid all the BBQs or hide inside in your jeans and T-shirts. Be a little more mindful of what you eat and be active. Go out, get moving, get fun and remember to avoid soda and mayonnaise and you’ll be fine!