Summer weight control

Summer diets often go off the rails in the back yard, next to the grill and close to the beer cooler. With the Fourth of July fast approaching, and with the wealth of outdoor parties, celebrations and festivals that the warm weather brings, it’s wise to review some weight loss strategies that apply to summer eating.

It’s no secret: weight loss involves burning more calories than you take in, period.  This involves exercising and eating a healthy portion-controlled diet during parties and celebrations and cookouts.  Yeah, right, that ain’t happening!  The tons of delicious calorie-packed food and drinks that this season brings can make it easy to take in a few hundred extra calories in a single night.

You can lose weight any time of the year if you are willing to do what it takes to make it happen.  However, I do not think it is realistic to expect you to deprive yourself totally during summer’s holidays, picnics and festivals, so I might suggest a reevaluation of your goals to make them realistic and sensible.  If you want to actually lose weight, you can reference any of my past articles and apply that advice.  This article is about damage control and enjoying the summer without going up a few sizes in the process.

If you are someone who gives your health and appearance top priority, I am guessing that you already live a healthy lifestyle and have a great deal of discipline.  Because of this, I suggest enjoying the summer’s parties to the fullest.  A healthy lifestyle and the shapely figure that accompanies it come from dedication and perseverance, and you already have it.  A person with these traits generally chooses not to overindulge at all or at least minimize it. The very small weight gain you incur will be quickly taken off as you tighten up the diet again and intensify the workouts after each event to pay the price for your sins.

On the other hand, if you are person who struggles with the commitment to exercise and eating right, we need to take a different plan of attack.  The goal of this plan is to control and limit the inevitable weight gain.  I am going to suggest you take a calendar and note all of the weight gaining situations you will be in for the next couple of months.  This includes barbecues, festivals, weddings, graduation parties, fireworks parties, everything!  Now your plan of attack will be two-fold.

First is the diet.  You are going to be cheating, more than normal, at all these parties and events. This is going to require that attention be paid to the meals that are not at social events. So look at your calendar of events. If you are going to a smaller event such as a luncheon, happy hour (singular!), or the like, I would cut late night eating for 3 days, or cut my largest meal in half for 3 days. For the larger events that might include snacks, drinks, dinner, dessert, and more drinks (of course!), I would cut late night eating for the entire week, or cut my largest meal in half for the entire week, or both.  If I was not a late night eater or do not eat a large meal, I would apply the same philosophy to the applicable bad behavior! Again, the more cushion we give ourselves in non-social events, the less impact the social events will have.

Part two of the attack is exercise.  You are going to earn your summer enjoyment. Again, look at your calendar and for every small event I am going to require you to dedicate two 30-minute sessions of high intensity calorie burning exercise.  For the larger events, I am going to require two 1-hour sessions, or four 30-minute sessions of high intensity exercise.  When I say high intensity, I mean out of your comfort zone! This must be performed before your event.  Don’t kid yourself and think you will get it done after because you won’t.

For some of you social butterflies, this probably means that you are exercising and cutting calories to create a strategy for the entire season.  Bottom line: you can choose my Sensible Fitness plan or choose the next size up!


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