Motivation Articles

Summer Weight-Loss Strategies That Work

Enjoy the Lighter Days of Summer!

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Go for the Grill
Whether it’s a cookout with the neighbors or an easy weeknight dinner, cooking outside offers many advantages. Now that the sun is staying up later, there’s no reason to save grilling for weekend afternoons.
 
All those vegetables you vowed to eat taste even more delicious when grilled. To make sure everything cooks evenly, be sure to cut veggies into chunks of similar size and thread them onto skewers to prevent them from falling through the grates. Try eggplant, onion, mushrooms, squash or cherry tomatoes.
 
Grilling can also bring a boring chicken breast to life, and a homemade dry rub can flavor your choice of protein without all the fat and calories you'd consume by using creamy sauces or oils.  
 
Get Started: Learn about the basics of grilling, then try these dry rub and marinade recipes. (For even more healthy grilling recipes, check out SparkPeople's Ultimate Grilling Guide e-book.) 

Weight-Loss Hurdle: Watch out for barbecue diet busters like creamy potato salad, mayo-laden cole slaw and sugary fruit pie. It's not that you can’t enjoy your favorite summer treats, but be sure to find healthier versions or try alternatives like vegetarian baked beans, slaw made with a vinegar dressing or angel food cake topped with fresh berries.
 
Speaking of potato salad, when you’re cooking and eating outside, you always have to keep food safety in mind. Anything made with mayonnaise is especially susceptible to spoilage in the heat, but all foods are vulnerable. To comply with FDA safety recommendations, don't leave food out for more than two hours. When it's hotter than 90°F, don't leave food out for more than an hour.

Stay On Track: Check out our handy chart of the best and worst cookout foods for your weight-loss plan.
 
Take Your Workout Outdoors
A recent study by the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom showed that exercising outdoors is more enjoyable than doing the same activity indoors, which makes it easier to stick to the fitness side of your weight-loss goals. On top of that, warm days and sunshine are much more inviting than rainy spring days or blustery winter days, so you have far fewer excuses to skip your summer workout.
 
Get Started: Walking, swimming, biking, running, gardening—there are plenty of ways to get outdoors and burn calories all summer long. Be sure to learn how to protect yourself from sun exposure before you go, though! 

Weight-Loss Hurdle: While some people enjoy getting sweaty on a sunny day, it's not without its downsides. Before you get off the treadmill and hit the pavement, there are a few precautions you should take to prevent a fun summer workout from becoming a disaster. To avoid the most extreme heat of the day, exercise early in the morning or just before sunset.
 
Don't plan a long outdoor exercise session until you've acclimated to the heat. Start with 15 minutes and increase the length of time you stay outside as you get used to the warm weather.
 
If it's an especially hot day, don't let the temperature derail your fitness goals. There's no reason you can't do some indoor cardio in the air-conditioned comfort of your home or the gym. What matters is finding fun ways to stay active no matter what the weather is like. 

Stay On Track: Discover how one SparkPeople member walked off 60 pounds without ever setting foot outside.
 
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About The Author

Megan Patrick Megan Patrick
Megan Lane Patrick has been a professional writer and editor for the past 16 years, and was a chronic dieter for at least 30. A combination of weight-loss surgery, mindful eating and daily exercise finally allowed her to maintain a weight loss of more than 100 pounds. When she's not lifting weights at the gym, you can find her walking shelter dogs as a volunteer for the SPCA.

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