Avoiding Summer Weight Gain

Summer is finally here!  This time of year is absolutely my favorite season.  The warm weather is the perfect excuse to hit the rivers and lakes for some swimming, join the neighbors for a bbq, or in my case, have some awesome fellowship time with my church family outdoors.  Along with the increase in social activity comes the increased opportunity for food choice.  We live in a society where food is more often than not available at all social gatherings.  My family uses food as an excuse to gather…LOL.  The food choices available to us at social gatherings are usually not very friendly to the health concious person who is on round one of the P90X fat shredder phase.  So below I have compiled a few tip to avoiding summer weight gain.  Hopefully these tips come in handy when you are faced with common summer circumstances.

1)The Conquerer Mentality

I dont know what it is inside of us that says, “if its free, take it all and take as much as you can”.  I hear that little voice at the summer pot lucks.  There is so much food available, and maybe it is the survival instinct inside of us that drives this mentality rather than the conquerer, but you have to be willing to say to yourself, “I dont NEED all this”.  Even if you get “just a little bit of everything” the pile on your plate ends up being enough to feed a small village.  So when mealtime rolls around and the pot luck buffet jumps before you like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, make sure you start with the salad. That’s right, a simple green salad.  Personally I enjoy spinach leaves (has a little protien). And while you’re at it, try light dressing or no dressing at all. Salad fills up space in your stomach while it provides you with vitamins and roughage, the latter of which is noticeably lacking in many summer gathering type foods.

2) Liquid Calories

I personally do not drink alcohol or soda, but many people enjoy these bevereges, especially during the summer.  What people dont consider are how many colories are in those beverages.  I live in the pacific northwest where micro-brewed beer flows as freely as the Columbia River.  During the summer it is common for a group of friends to go down to the local micro brewery on a warm summer evening and have 3-4 beers.  The average micro brew can range from 160-300 calories per glass.  Thats a possible 1200 liquid calories!  The same goes for soda.  With the hot days ahead, it is tempting to pick up that soda, and another, and another…you get the point.  The added sugar you just consumed not only wears out your pancreas trying to make enough insuline to deal with all that sugar, but with 3 regular sodas, you just added a possible 450 calories to your daily intake (3000 calorie = 1lb of fat).  You can do the math here.  DRINK YOUR WATER FOLKS!!  Studies have shown that drinking water actually accelerates your weight loss.

3) Fitness Neglect

As if we as a country didnt neglect it enough already, the summer months of vacationing and busyness often become an excuse to not work out.  Now wherever you are vacationing might not have the facilities to do your P90X or INSANITY, but there is always some sort of fitness option.  Go for fast paced walk.  Go jogging.  Do some plyometrics, push-ups (no equipment needed), whatever you can do to fire up those muscles and get that heart rate up will be much more beneficial than not doing anything.  Another reason for fitness neglect in the summer is staying up late.  We have people over all the time, especially in the summer, and inevitably, our guests stay until 1am (welcomed of course).  This doesnt exactly motivate me to wake up at 5:15 when the alarm goes off.  Mind over body is the key.  Write down how you feel when you dont work out, then right down how you feel after a workout.  Use this as motivation to get your butt out of bed after a late night.

4) Set Your Goals

With all that is going on during the summer; camping, hiking, boating, bbq, picnics, concerts, fairs etc.  It is extremely easy to not set any goals for yourself.  And why wouldnt it be when you always have something to do!  Setting up goals for yourself will help keep you on track.  If you dont have a goal, you will miss the mark every single time.  When you have health and fitness goals, you are much more likely to do what is necessary to meet those goals.  Maybe your goal is to get RIPPED.  Thats awsome!  Now do what it takes and dont let summer get in your way.  Maybe your goal is to cut sweets from your diet.  Perfect!  Now commit to it and start enjoying the feeling of healthy living this summer.  Whatever your health and fitness goals are this summer, commit whole heartedly to them and reap the benefits of your labor.  Dont let the hustle and bustle of summer get you off track.

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