Summer is a time for relaxation, vacations, and barbeques.
It’s also a time when there are seemingly endless opportunities that could derail your hard-earned efforts in the gym and in the kitchen...but, it doesn’t have to be.
You can still enjoy the festivities and fellowship that summer offers without undoing all of your hard work through the first half of the year or sabotaging your transformation challenge.
Here are 6 ways to maintain weight loss during the summer party season.
#1 Savor Your Food
After grabbing your burger, hot dog, or slab of ribs off the BBQ pit, don’t just woof it down as quickly as possible so you can hop in line for seconds. Sit down and truly savor each and every bite. Take in the aromas of the food, and experience everything your summer culinary fare has to offer.
Because eating on the run is virtually ingrained in the American psyche, this idea might go against all your instincts.
Which means you have to be intentional in your approach.
Weight loss is your ultimate goal here, so you need to recognize that when you “gobble, gulp, and go,” your brain forgets to send specific signals to the rest of your body—signals that prevent overeating.
Make sure you always pause throughout your meal (this will increase your enjoyment by allowing you to appreciate all the flavors you might miss otherwise) and chew your food thoroughly. We recommend somewhere between 15 and 30 chews before swallowing.
Better still, opt for foods that require utensils as opposed to finger foods as this will inherently slow down your food intake, giving your brain time to register that it’s had enough to eat, thereby helping you to not overeat.
#2 Make Smart Swaps
We get it. Typical summer cookouts are filled with fatty, calorically dense offerings like hot dogs, potato salad, brisket—and those foods are absolutely delicious. But, if you make some smart swaps, you’ll find yourself inching closer to your weight loss goals without missing out on all the mouth-watering flavors of the summer season.
For instance, instead of cooking brisket or rib eyes, you can grill sirloin steaks or flank steak. These leaner cuts have fewer grams of fat per serving and come packed with as many as 50 grams of protein. And instead of using mayonnaise in your potato salad, you can use a combination of spicy dijon mustard and protein-rich Greek yogurt. The difference here is all in the calories: a tablespoon of mayo has about 100 calories, while a tablespoon of Greek yogurt weighs in at roughly eight calories.
You can also include some lower-calorie, yet equally filling side dishes such as grilled asparagus, mushrooms, or zucchini/summer squash. If you’ve never tried grilling veggies before, you’ll be surprised at just how much better tasting they are than typical steamed or raw veggies.
#3 Stay Hydrated
It’s no secret that summer can get hot...really hot in certain locales. And, as the temps rise, you’ll be tempted to reach for a frosty cold beer or frozen margarita to cool things off.
While there’s nothing wrong with an adult beverage (in moderation), it’s also important that you drink enough water and electrolytes during the day as well. A good rule of thumb is to have one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you have. This helps protect against dehydration as well as prevent you from consuming too many liquid calories.
If you get bored drinking plain water during the day, you can add some slices of cucumber, lemon, lime, or strawberry to your water. Another option is to add a scoop of essential amino acids to your water, such as Her BCAA/EAA or His BCAA/EAA. This adds a ton of flavor with very little calories all the while helping you consume enough water during the day and supporting muscle recovery and growth.
One other thing you can do to make sure you’re consuming enough fluids each day is to track your fluid intake, which can be done with ease using the 1UP Fitness App, which is available on Apple and Google Play.
#4 Stay Active
Summer is a time for relaxation for many of us, but it isn’t a time to go into complete hibernation mode from your exercise regimen. And while we wish we all could achieve our weight loss goals by lounging at the pool all day, it isn’t that simple.
Remember, fitness is an ongoing process; one that needs to be maintained all year round.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to grind your body and mind to dust in the gym all year round, but you still need to maintain some level of physical activity. Note: this also helps offset the extra calories you may be ingesting from adult beverages and extra desserts at summer parties.
Get outdoors for some hiking, biking, or trail running instead of slogging out yet another session on the treadmill or elliptical. Go for a walk in the park or try a bodyweight workout on the playground.
The important thing is to stay active—even after you hit your weight loss goal-How you choose to do it is up to you. Find something that excites and motivates you, and get after it!
#5 Examine Your Snacks
Typical snacks at summer cookouts include chips, crackers, dip, and an assortment of other salty, processed concoctions, which usually are high in calories and low in protein, fiber, and micronutrients.
Instead of going for the same old snacks, why not try injecting some long-overdue excitement (and nutrition!) into the otherwise mundane summer muchines.
For instance, instead of regular potato chips and sour cream-based dips, try whole-wheat pita chips and hummus (or one of our favorites baba ganoush -- roasted eggplant dip).
If you’re a fan of “traditional” sour cream-based dips like French onion dip or Ranch dressing with veggies, swap out the sour cream for Greek yogurt. This way you get all the flavor of your favorite dips but with the added hit of protein!
One other option is to make some delicious tasting homemade popsicles using a scoop of essential amino acids mixed into 8-10 ounces of water. Then pour the mixture into popsicle molds and let it freeze.
Then you have a delicious, refreshing, and nutritious treat that delivers all the flavor and enjoyment of regular popsicles without all the added sugar!
#6 Enjoy the Season’s Offerings
Summertime is one of the most bountiful times of the year for fresh produce, including everything from juicy watermelon to succulent berries to crisp, refreshing veggies.
Instead of having the same old veggies with your meals (broccoli, green beans, etc.), take a few extra minutes to look through the grocery store (or better yet check out a local farmer’s market) to see what’s in season.
Once you’ve got your haul of produce, then you can decide how to incorporate them into your summer party season.
Do you want to toss your new found fare on the grill? Make a chopped salad? Use them as crudites or vehicles to hold nutritious dips like hummus, homemade mango salsa, or a smoky black bean dip?
Also, don’t forget to include some protein alongside your seasonal produce, which not only supports muscle recovery, but also helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. And, if you need extra help keeping hunger at bay during the day, check out our stimulant-free Appetite Suppressant, which contains natural ingredients that help reduce appetite and cravings, promote increased fullness for longer periods of time, and support mood and stable energy levels.