5 Best Practices for Summer Weight Loss
5 Best Practices for Summer Weight Loss
Low-carb. No-carb. 800 calories a day. 500 calories a day. Good fat. Bad fat. Blah blah blah. You’ve heard it all when it comes to summer weight loss. Most of us have a few (or many) pounds still to lose before the the summer's over, and it's not too late to try! But wouldn’t it be nice to cut through the noise and actually figure out what really (REALLY) works?
Achieving summer weight loss and—gasp—keeping those pounds off all year long is really a matter of using common-sense best practices as well as being in tune and working with your body’s unique response to those best practices. In other words, finding out what works for you and then sticking with it.
Here are the 5 best practices for effective—and lasting—summer weight loss.
1. Summer Weight Loss: Start Early, Start Often
May is not the month to start thinking about summer weight loss! When you wait too late in the year to begin a reducing regimen, you’re more likely to panic and fall prey to get-skinny-quick schemes, products, and fads that can be expensive and are almost guaranteed to wreak havoc with your immediate and long-term health.
Be especially wary of crash diets—cutting calories drastically provides short-term gratification, but ultimately slows your metabolism (which means you’ll gain the weight right back), weakens your immune system, deprives your body of essential nutrients, increases your risk for heart palpitations and cardiac stress, and more bad stuff. Just say NO.
If at all possible, start your summer weight loss regimen at the beginning of the new year or shortly thereafter so you won’t feel rushed and pressured to see immediate results. With time on your side, you’re more likely to make solid, healthful, and longer-lasting weight-loss decisions. Did you wait till late in the summer to get going. It's OK: same principles still apply! Take your time and do it right.
2. Summer Weight Loss: Drink Water
Why is water at the top of the list? Simple. Never mind wheatgrass smoothies or “fat-busting” shakes—water is the original miracle drink for people embarking on summer weight loss routines. Here are some of the benefits of drinking plenty of water:
- It revs up your metabolism
- Your muscles and organs function more effectively
- It washes toxins right through your body and you’ll have healthier bowel movements (which help you lose weight)
- You feel fuller and are more likely to eat less
How much water is enough?
The recommended benchmark is eight 8-ounce glasses a day, but some people drink up to a gallon! Start slowly and listen to your own body…it will tell you what you need.
3. Summer Weight Loss: Track Calories
There’s no secret to calories, really, no matter what the noise of popular culture shouts at you. If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn over time, you’ll lose. Technically, whether you’re eating chocolate or broccoli, if the amount you’re eating adds up to the same amount of calories, it’s all the same as far as energy intake. However, what you eat is processed differently by your body and has different effects on whether or not you feel full. So (and this is painful to say to a chocoholic): Choose the broccoli.
Cutting calories is an essential component of summer weight loss. How much you cut every day is up to you. If you’re not sure how much to cut or the best ways to go about it, get help from your doctor, a registered dietician, or a nutritionist. Again, common sense wins out: When faced with eating a sensible sandwich or a greasy burger for lunch, go with the sandwich. Just being more aware of and smarter about our choices makes a huge difference.
4. Summer Weight Loss: Cut Down on Sugar
This is actually one where the shouters and so-called dieting gurus are right. Sugar, whether high-fructose corn syrup in candies and syrups or other types of sugars in processed foods, is highly-addictive, gets absorbed super-quickly into the system, and therefore can actually make you want to eat more. And that’s no bueno for your summer weight loss plans.
Cut down on or cut out all the obvious culprits: soda, candy, cookies, cakes, white bread, white rice ice cream, etc. for faster and more lasting weight loss. Incorporate a sensible amount of complex carbs into your diet instead: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans.
5. Summer Weight Loss: Get Moving!
Move. Move. MOVE. The more you move, the more calories you burn. Common sense, right? But it’s amazing how many people believe that cutting calories alone is enough for summer weight loss. Let your body help you lose by pushing it to move more. This doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon! Find one or two exercises you enjoy doing (walking, tennis, swimming, biking) and stick with them: 5-6 times a week for at least 20 minutes. Have a hard time motivating yourself to get to the gym? Schedule your gym sessions like you would any other appointment in your day, and then show up!
Bonus incentive: Sticking with your exercise routine once you reach your summer weight loss goals is the best thing you can do to keep the pounds from creeping back on!
The Bottom Line
Achieving summer weight loss as well as lasting weight loss involves common-sense best practices. It isn’t rocket science, but it can be helped by DNA science. The HomeDNA Healthy Weight DNA test and report can tell you how your body is genetically programmed to respond to several of the 5 best practices discussed here and how you can optimize your strategy. Now’s the time to finally take control of your weight!