Summer tends to be the most fun and active time of year. And all kinds of delicious and nutritious foods are fresh and abundant in this season. Those are great reasons why summer is prime time to work toward your healthiest weight.
But the hot weather, along with picnics, cookouts and other parties that pop up on the calendar, present a variety of temptations that can derail progress to your weight loss goal. You can avoid these pitfalls if you remember that you have better options that can be satisfying without being disruptive.
Here are seven summer weight loss mistakes, and better choices to keep in mind while you’re enjoying sunshine and good times:
BATHING SUIT DIETING
Whether you’re at the beach or lying by the pool, you want to look your absolute best in your swimwear. That can entice you to try to shed a few extra pounds with a crash diet or to just skip meals. Crash diets are not only unhealthy, they tend to slow your metabolism, making it difficult for you to drop more than just a few pounds. Even more frustrating, you are unlikely to lose weight in the areas of your body where you’d like to see a difference. And any weight you lose in the short-term will be regained as soon as you resume your normal eating habits.
Better choice: Stick with your Nutrisystem plan for sustained weight loss and a healthy approach to eating everyday. You’re sure to see real results each week that will last through the summer and beyond. (Not on Nutrisystem? What are you waiting for?! Get started here >)
PERSPIRING TO LOSE
When you exercise in the heat, you think you can feel the pounds melting off with each bead of sweat. And if you weigh yourself right before and after you work out, you may see a difference. That can tempt you to overdo it, leaving you too sore to move much for a few days afterward. As soon as you quench your thirst and replace the fluids you’ve sweated out, you will see on the scale that you’ve lost little (if any) weight.
Better choice: Maintain a steady activity level every day so you get in the 150 minutes of movement a week recommended by the experts at Nutrisystem. The regular activity keeps your metabolism burning continually, even if you’re just walking inside an air-conditioned mall.
MORE SMOOTHIES AND FRAPPS
On cold days, we warm up with coffee and tea. When the weather turns hot, most of us would rather have a cool smoothie or other blended drink to start the day or as an afternoon pick-me up. Coffee and tea are no-calorie “free” foods. Blended drinks from coffee shops and convenience stores tend to be high in sugar, and many are also loaded with fat. A 16-ounce serving may have more than 400 calories, 25 percent of them from fat.
Better choice: Order unsweetened iced coffee or tea instead. Or build the perfect smoothie at home using fresh, nutritious ingredients. Click here to find out how >
Sunny days and balmy evenings are ideal for hanging out with friends, enjoying beer, wine and other adult beverages. They are so refreshing in warm weather you can drink a few without feeling full. But even a light beer or white wine comes with more than a 100 calories per drink, and the sweet drinks like hard cider and wine coolers that are popular today have as many 180 calories each.
Better choice: If you want to enjoy a drink or two, at least alternate each one with fizzy seltzer over ice with a lime wedge. You still get to chill with your friends, but limit how many extra calories you get.
Eating outdoors is one of summer’s pleasures and backyard barbecues bring out so many favorite foods, including classics like potato salad and cole slaw. While those dishes start with healthful vegetables, they get weighed down with excessive saturated fats from mayonnaise and sour cream. Even just a spoonful of each adds up to more calories and fats than you want. What’s more, the loads of sugar in popular barbecue sauces can heap calories on a lean chicken breast.
Better choice: Pick grain or bean salads instead of the creamy ones. Even better, get your barbecue fix with these delicious options on the Nutrisystem menu >
With so many fresh vegetables in season and abundant in summer, salads are never more appealing. And there’s no reason not to enjoy as much of the non-starchy veggies as you’d like. Just beware of bottled dressings that are laden with fat or non-fat dressings flavored with extra sugar. They lay on the empty calories, turning your healthy salad into a nutritional mistake.
Better choice: Use light vinaigrette or even better, just drizzle on a little vinegar infused with herbs such as tarragon. Or try one of these five simple but tasty homemade dressings >
NOT SO COOL TREATS
You may not be a kid anymore, but when you hear the jingle of the bell as the ice cream truck comes down your block you may still want to go running. Or maybe you’re just craving a cool treat on a sweltering day. Before you go to the ice cream shop, consider that a small cone of soft-serve adds more than 120 calories to your diet. Surprisingly, frozen yogurt can have even more—150 calories or more per serving at the big chains.
Better choice: Your Nutrisystem weight loss plan offers you satisfyingly cool treats, like ice cream sandwiches and fudge bars. Each is made according to the strict standards of dietitians, so you stay on track to your weight loss goal. Click here to check out some of the awesome frozen treats >