Around this time of year, your local magazine stand starts to look like a scolding personal trainer. “Lose Weight for Summer!” “There’s Still Time To Fit Into That Bikini!” “Drop 10, 20, 30 Pounds Before Hitting the Beach!” the covers shout.
These headlines can start to feel a bit intimidating (not to mention judgemental… sheesh!). But luckily, warm weather is conducive to melting extra pounds. So with a few tweaks to your regular routine, you can drop a few inches without much work. And, of course, if you haven’t signed up for Nutrisystem, you should think about doing it now! With Nutrisystem, you can lose up to 13 pounds and seven inches overall in your first month!*… just enough time to drop those pounds by summer. Sign up here >
Here are seven easy ways to lose weight for summer:
1. Get out in the glorious weather
Turns out there’s a big advantage to exercising in the open air instead of the gym. A British research team analyzed data from studies involving 833 people. Their study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that those who exercised outside were less stressed and depressed and enjoyed exercising so much they were far more likely to keep it up than those who did their workouts inside. Of course, the more you exercise, the more calories you burn. The boost in mental health also offers a weight loss bonus: You’re less prone to emotional eating.
2. Don’t try to beat the heat
When you’re trying to lose weight, heat can be your best friend. Why? Eating makes you hot. Really. Eating contributes to helping you maintain your body heat, which is the last thing you want to do in the summer. The result: You’re more likely to eat less during the summer months to keep your cool, says researcher C. Peter Hermann in the government report, “Nutritional Needs in Hot Environments,” which was written for military personnel serving in hot climates. This may be one reason that your appetite crashes after a bout of brisk exercise, which can raise your core body temperature. So don’t hide in the AC. Get out and sweat a little!
3. Fill up on summer foods
One of the challenges of hot weather is to stay hydrated. That means you’re likely to drink more during the summer, which may help curb your appetite. But don‘t overlook the benefits of summer foods such as fresh produce and cold fruit and vegetable soups like gazpacho. Many studies have found putting that this “edible water” on the menu regularly will help you lose weight. Research by Penn State nutrition scientist Barbara Rolls, PhD, has found that eating foods that have a high water content—like fresh summer fruits (think watermelon), light soups and salads—fills you up fast so you’re not as hungry. In her studies, those who ate “juicy” foods ate less than those who didn’t eat them. They even worked better than drinking water with meals in curbing appetite.
4. Worship the morning sun
Yes, there is a best time to exercise, even if you’re only going to take a little stroll. People who were more exposed to light in the early morning had a lower body mass index than those whose light exposure happened later in the day, according to a study by researchers at Chicago’s Northwestern University. The study participants wore wrist monitors that tracked their light exposure and sleeping patterns and they kept track of everything they ate for a week. The magic: Light exposure early in the day helps set your internal clock which, if it’s disrupted, can lead to sluggish metabolism and weight gain.
5. Use the sleeveless top motivation
Let’s face, in the summertime, there’s really nowhere to hide those extra pounds. It’s not like winter, when you can disguise your bulges under chunky sweaters and long-sleeved tunics. Don’t let it get you down. Let the lighter, scantier clothes you wear—even if they reveal your flaws—be added motivation to stick with your diet and exercise plan.
6. Burn calories the fun way
All those good-weather activities, from walking on the beach to swimming to playing golf, can turn your daily workouts into play. If your kids are out shooting hoops in the driveway, join them. If you’ve got enough game, you can scorch off 440 calories in an hour, according to choosemyplate.gov, the website of the United States Department of Agriculture Go for bike rides. Just a half hour on two wheels at 10 mph can burn 295 calories. Spending just an hour working in the garden can torch 330 calories.
7. Go with your gut
A flood of new research suggests that the type of bacteria you have in your gut may play a role in making you overweight. Diets heavy in fat and processed foods are a likely culprit in populating your intestines with the kinds of bugs that make you fat. Since you’re eating light in the summer anyway, this might be the time to add more prebiotics and probiotics to your diet to balance your gut flora. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, probiotics are what you find in yogurt, kefir, and other fermented foods—good bacteria that can help your digestion. Look for “live and active cultures” and be wary of those products with too much sugar. Prebiotics are carbohydrates, actually a type of fiber that your body can’t digest. You’ll find them in onions and garlic, leeks, asparagus, bananas, soybeans and whole wheat foods.
*In a study, avg. weight loss was 11.6 lbs and 8 inches.