June 30 2015 The Pros and Cons of Summer Diets

Summer can be a great time for dieters. Warm weather and long days make outdoor activities more appealing. Fruit and vegetables are in season, so they’re fresher and taste better. But summer can also present problems and pitfalls for dieters. Hot weather does not just melt off pounds. Here are some of the pros and cons of summer dieting:

Good Points about Summer Dieting

  1. Warm weather and long days give you more opportunity for exercise. Also more variety of exercise, such as hiking, swimming, sports and bicycling.
  2. Fresh fruit and vegetables are more available and perhaps less expensive. They probably also taste better if they’re grown locally.
  3. Appetites can be reduced in hot weather.
  4. If you’re drinking plenty of fluids, you might feel too full to eat much.
  5. Summer is the time for grilling, which adds plenty of flavor to simple meals, like chicken and grilled vegetables.
  6. Salads make great filling meals, perfect for a hot day. Load up on fresh vegetables and add some protein. You can make vegetable salads, or use cooked whole grains or legumes like black beans or kidney beans.
  7. Bathing suits and shorts: skimpier clothes can be motivational to stick to a diet.
  8. High calorie comfort foods that sound appealing in winter seem less appealing in summer.

Pitfalls of Summer Dieting

  1. Parties: outdoor parties are great fun, but the temptation to eat too much in social situations can trip up any dieter.
  2. Vacation trips can offer all kinds of temptations to overeat, from large restaurant portions to trying lots of local specialties. And what’s up with fudge? Why do all tourist towns have fudge shops?
  3. Beverages: it’s important to stay hydrated in hot weather, but not with sugary soft drinks or sweetened iced tea.
  4. Beverages Part 2: large blended cocktails – margaritas, daiquiris, etc -- are loaded with calories.
  5. Ice cream cones.
  6. Hot weather. Really hot humid weather can be a deal killer when it comes to outdoor activities. You just want to veg out inside in air conditioning.
  7. Family visits: 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 all the special family favorite foods you’ve apparently been missing since the last visit.
  8. Farmer’s markets and fairs with free food samples can sabotage your portion control efforts.

You may be aware of your own personal summer diet pros and cons. I’d say overall, summer is a big plus for diets 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. And ditch the same-old-same-old food at parties. Do you really need to eat chips and dip, the same chips and dip you’re likely to see at holiday parties and Super Bowl parties and office parties. Stick to the really special and unusual foods. As for ice cream cones: order the small size, enjoy and you're done. The good news is that, when you buy a single ice cream cone, there isn’t an open half-gallon of leftover ice cream calling to you from your freezer.

Donna P. Feldman MS RDN

Nutrition journalist at Radio Nutrition

Co-host: Walk Talk Nutrition podcast.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Tags:

Alcohol & Other Beverages/Calories Alcohol & Other Beverages/Pop & Soda Weight Loss/Sugars & Sweeteners

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