Losing weight in the summer is possible, if you're mindful of these 6 challenges

  • 2 Minutes Read

Losing weight in the summer sounds like a slam dunk-warm weather, outdoor activity, and fresh produce. But summer diets can also present pitfalls. Learn how to navigate these challenges while still enjoying fun in the sun.

Losing weight in the summer

Losing weight in the summer: Opportunities

1. Exercise options

Warm weather and extended daylight hours give you more opportunities for movement. There is also a wider array of outdoor exercises, such as hiking, swimming, and bicycling. You will also burn extra calories with outdoor chores.

2. More produce

Summer means lots of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. More produce becomes available and generally, less expensive. They likely taste better if they're grown locally. Filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables and adding a side of fruit will add volume to your meal without excess calories.

3. Lower appetite

Your appetite might be lower in hot weather, allowing you to be satisfied with smaller portions and making it easier to avoid extra snacks.

4. Grilling season

Summer is the time for grilling, which adds flavor to lean and simple meals like chicken and grilled vegetables. Try this Mustard Lime Chicken or these colorful Lemony Tofu Ratatouille Kebabs.

5. Cool salads

Perfect for a hot day, salads can make filling meals when you don't want to heat up the kitchen. Load on the fresh vegetables and add some protein. You can also make salads with a base of cooked whole grains or legumes like black beans or kidney beans. Try this Powerhouse Salad for a protein-packed and filling entree salad. Leftover Mediterranean Quinoa Salad makes a great lunch the next day.

6. Change in food preferences

Heavy casseroles and other high-calorie comfort foods may seem less appealing in warm summer months.

7. Summer attire

Although you may not be seeking a "bikini body," let's face it-swimsuits and shorts offer a stronger incentive to stick to losing weight in the summer than turtleneck sweaters.

Losing weight in the summer: Challenges

1. Parties

Outdoor gatherings are fabulous fun, but the temptation to overeat in social situations can trip up any dieter. Bring a healthy dish to share and plan for non-food activities such as volleyball or tossing the Frisbee.

2. Vacation

Travel offers all kinds of temptations to overeat, from roadtrip snacks to large restaurant portions to sampling local specialties. Don't deprive yourself, but be selective about the treats you choose-make sure they are worth the calories.

3. Beverages

It's essential to stay hydrated in hot weather, but not with sugary soft drinks or sweetened iced tea. Cooling summer cocktails like margaritas and daiquiris are not only dehydrating, but they come with lots of sugar and calories. Play it smart with water, fruit-infused water, and other healthier choices.

4. Eating opportunities

Summertime means lots of options for impulse treats, from ice cream parlors and fudge shops to frozen confection carts and food trucks. Pack a healthy snack when you are out and about to reduce temptation.

5. Too hot to move

Hot, humid weather can be a deal killer when it comes to exercise and becomes unsafe in extreme heat. Make a plan to exercise in the cooler morning or evening hours, or choose to go for a refreshing swim.

6. Houseguests

Relatives may not always be comfortable with your weight-loss efforts. They might make unhelpful comments ("You're so thin!") or pressure you to eat high-calorie family favorite foods. Rehearse how you will respond to any unhelpful comments.

Be aware of your own summer diet opportunities and pitfalls and make a plan for year-long success. Overall, summer offers a weight-loss advantage as long as you stay aware of all those temptations to overeat. The best calorie-control strategy for parties and vacation trips is portion control. As for ice cream cones, enjoy the small size, and be satisfied. The good news: there isn't an open half-gallon of leftover ice cream calling to you from your freezer

Reviewed and updated by Sue Heikkinen MS, RDN, CDCES on May 12, 2021.

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Alcohol & Other Beverages->Calories Alcohol & Other Beverages->Pop & Soda Weight Loss->Sugars & Sweeteners
May 19, 2021
Donna P Feldman MS RDN is author of Food Wisdom for Women and "Feed Your Vegetarian Teen". She writes about food and nutrition at Radio Nutrition.

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