As we round out the summer season in just a few weeks, it's time to reflect and realign our health and fitness priorities. Unfortunately, the temptations of warm weather often triumph over our good intentions, with the average person emerging from the summertime with an extra three pounds on their hips! In order to counteract this common problem of summer weight gain, use the month of August as a launching pad to get back in shape and embrace a more healthy end-of-summer lifestyle.
Avoid these common end-of-summer weight gain traps with ease:
Labor Day Picnics and Barbecues: Long picnics and barbecues that start in the middle of the afternoon are a uniquely American experience and with Labor Day around the corner they are sure to be on the horizon. Unfortunately, 3 p.m. isn't the ideal time to eat. Let's examine your schedule in this case: you eat breakfast, then you eat lunch, and you then hit this afternoon picnic where you start eating again without even being hungry. Elect to start your cookout at noon or 7 p.m. -- and not in the middle of the afternoon -- you will save yourself thousands of extra calories.
If you are eating ribs, limit the amount of barbecue sauce (loaded with sugar) and have just one large rib or three small ones. You don't need to put butter on your corn; even better, try eating it completely raw -- your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised by its sweet natural taste, and your body by its low Glycemic Index!
Trips to the beach: Next time you head to the beach remember that you DO NOT need to bring along lots of food for a short trip. Go to the beach on empty and just enjoy the sand and the sea! If you do plan on having a picnic, keep it simple: fresh tomato salad (homemade, yes you can do it), whole wheat bread, a few slices of low-fat cheese, some fruit ... and yes, a treat or two is okay, but no need to go overboard!
Summer drinking: Everyone enjoys relaxing in the sun with a nice glass of wine or a good beer. For those of you trying to "act French" with the wine, remember that French women might not get fat simply because they don't drink wine during the day -- they'll rather opt for a glass of Perrier Lemon. So ditch the wine and the beer and go for a calorie-free drink!
Traveling in cars/planes/trains to and from vacation spots: Boredom often hits during travel time, leading to unnecessary snacking, without a true need to eat. Rule #1: don't take snacks on the road. There are plenty of places (unless you are crossing a desert, of course) where you can purchase food on the way if hunger hits. Rule #2: Always take plenty of water with you; staying hydrated is key, and it's also a great way to quiet "false" hunger feelings.
Dining out: Eat lightly on the day before you plan to party; opt for cold soups such as gazpacho, and avoid rich foods. Take a snack before heading out to dinner: a hard-boiled egg is the best approach. Don't arrive completely starving! This will limit your urge to overindulge in those heavenly looking finger food appetizers.
Still afraid of walking out of August 2010 with another three pounds on your hips? There's no need to fear. Let's make the rest of your summer break a true weight loss ally, and have you looking thinner, healthier, fitter and simply more gorgeous than ever before!