Your summer diet

When it comes to weight loss diets, the thought of bathing suits, shorts and sleeveless tops can be pretty motivating. Plenty of people start thinking about diets when looking ahead to the clothing of summer, hoping to arrive at their goal weight before the temperature hits 90°.  But if your weight isn’t quite what you’d hoped by then, don’t despair.  Summer may be the best time of all to be on a weight loss diet.  Here are some 5 very good reasons:

  1. It’s Hot!:  And when it’s really hot/humid out, appetite goes down, meaning you eat less food spontaneously, which means fewer calories.
  2. It’s Hot!, Part 2: Taste preferences change when the weather is really hot.  Heavy high fat foods don’t sound so appealing, which again means fewer calories.
  3. Fresh fruit is in season: It’s the ideal time of year to satisfy your sweet tooth with lovely fresh fruit, that tastes great because it’s in season.  Fresh fruit is loaded with nutrients.  It’s also high water content, filling you up so you aren’t tempted by junk food.
  4. Days are long and temps are warm: you’ve got lots more daylight time to be physically active.  Walking, biking, swimming, hiking and recreational sports are all examples of activities that keep you moving and are much more enjoyable in warm summer weather.
  5. Fresh vegetables are in season: load up your dinner plate with grilled zucchini, sliced fresh tomatoes, cucumber salad, fresh green beans and corn on the cob.  Add a modest piece of grilled chicken or beef or salmon and you’ve got a satisfying lower calorie evening meal.

In fact summer helps you follow a healthy lower calorie diet, makes physical activity more enjoyable and provides you with all kinds of opportunities to choose delicious healthy food.  But summer can also present some diet dilemmas that could throw a monkey wrench in your plans.Summer diet saboteurs include:

  • Ice cream cones.   It’s not that you should never indulge in an ice cream cone.  It’s just that this shouldn’t be a nightly habit.  Stopping by a local ice cream shop is a fun way to end a summer evening.   Order the smallest possible cone, or share a small dish, and enjoy.
  • Sugary drinks: It’s hot; you’re thirsty.  But don’t quench your thirst with sugared beverages.  Stick to water or plain iced tea (herbal tea is nice).  You can also blend fresh fruit with ice cubes and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice for a light and refreshing drink.
  • Tourist trap sweet treats.  It seems that every tourist town, no matter where, has fudge shops, taffy shops and ice cream.  I’ve always been puzzled by the fudge.  Why?  Is there no fudge in winter?  Why eat fudge in summer when you’re visiting a tourist destination?
  • Long hours spent sitting while traveling.  Whether in a car, plane, train or bus, sitting for hours while moving from Point A to Point B is an unfortunate part of vacations.  If you’re stuck doing that, find some way to get out and move around once you get where you’re going.
  • Once you get to that vacation destination, you’re tempted by all the new and unusual foods.  Or maybe you’re staying at a resort or other location with an all-you-can-eat buffet.  This is the time for self restraint and good judgment.  Just because it says “all you can eat” doesn’t mean you should eat all you can.

In the best case scenario, as summer winds down, you’re still losing weight.  You can can maintain your weight loss throughout fall and winter by keeping up with exercise activities and sticking to small portions and meals that are heavy on vegetables.  Hopefully by then you’ll be pleased with your success and motivated to stick to a lifestyle that helps you maintain your weight loss rather than just regaining everything over the winter, only to start all over with diet plans next spring.

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