Wow it’s been pretty hot for the past couple of days here in the UK and I’ve seen on the news we’re predicted the hottest July for a decade! Being pale and pretty heavily pregnant at the moment, I’ve been hiding-out indoors, but still feeling a bit overheated as the sun’s warmed up around early afternoon. As I made myself an iced lemon tea with a couple of spoonfuls of sugar (I don’t normally sweeten my tea – it was a bit of a treat!) I thought how easy it would be for the little extra Calories like this to add up over the summer. We often associate being warm with eating less or eating ‘healthier’- all those salads are really good for us aren’t they? However I’ve seen quite a few clients over the years who have been surprised to see their weight doesn’t go down over the summer and they are often at a loss as to why.
So here are some of my top tips for managing your weight over summer:
1. Avoid reaching for the sugary drinks
A can of cold pop instead of your usual cuppa can seem more refreshing and appealing when it’s warm. However don’t forget that a 330ml can of fizzy drink can contain around 100kcal (Coca Cola = 139kcal, Sprite = 92kcal) compared to the 20kcal in your usual mug of tea (based on the average of 40g milk or 40kcal if you have a teaspoon of sugar too). Think about that can of cola with 35g sugar – that’s the equivalent of 7 teaspoons of sugar! Try measuring that out – would you really just eat that? Of course I’m not saying don’t ever have a drink of pop, just remember it’s an extra treat to consider.
2. Stay well hydrated
Getting enough fluid helps your body to work properly, including burning fat, as well as helping us concentrate better and feel well. Remember our bodies are around 70% water and in the warmer months as we sweat more, we lose more fluid, which needs to be replaced. It’s recommended that the average person drinks around 2 litres of fluid (4 pints) per day – this is going to go up in the warmer weather. Try to sip drinks little and often throughout the day rather than knocking back loads in one go. It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, so before you reach for a snack try having a drink of water then wait a while to see how you feel. Herb teas, sugar-free squash and the odd glass of milk/fruit juice can also contribute to your fluid intake – it doesn’t have to be just water. You could try making your own iced tea – I like adding wedges of lemons and giving them a good mash to get the flavour out – just watch out for adding sugar!
3. Swap the ice-creams
The bigger ‘adult’ ice-creams such as Magnums etc can contain around 300kcal (more for the more ‘indulgent’ varieties, less for the multi-pack versions). That’s almost a small meal’s worth of energy – something that we don’t often consider – it’s just a little treat isn’t it? If you fancy a cooling treat you could try going for one of those aimed at children as a way of reducing the extra Calories e.g. a Twister, Mini-milk or Fab lolly. Or you could try swapping the ’99 with a flake’ (and sprinkles and sauce etc.!) for a fruit ice-lolly as they can have less than 100kcal and can be more refreshing.
4. Keep eating regularly
It’s important to eat regularly to manage your weight to avoid snacking and binging later on in the day. Sometimes when it’s warm my clients have told me they really don’t think they eat much. Unfortunately they are eating less in the form of proper balanced meals, but are turning to snacks without realising it and overcompensating as they tell themselves they haven’t eaten much. This accounts for the seemingly unexplainable weight gain. So try to keep having proper balanced meals – remember to include something starchy and at least a portion or two of fruit/veg at each meal. You could try to go for lighter meals such as salads or sandwiches if you don’t fancy a full cooked meal. Which leads me nicely onto…
5. Don’t assume a salad is a more appropriate option
When eating out, people often go for the salad as they think this is the best option when they’re trying to manage their weight. The thing with salads is, as with any meal, it depends what goes into the salad. Think about sauces/dressings – anything oily/creamy/cheesy is going to add extra Calories. Remember one of those individual sachets of mayo can have around 90-100kcal – it quickly adds up. Coleslaw and potato salad can easily give you way more Calories than you might think. Also it’s important to consider making sure your salad is still balanced – some people focus just on meat/cheese and salad vegetables then wonder why they’re still peckish later. Try including a small portion of pasta, rice or potatoes to give you some starchy carbohydrate.
6. Plan for BBQs
A lot of people like to eat ‘Al Fresco’ when it’s warmer, including having a BBQ. While barbecuing meat can help to reduce the fat content as the fat drains off, the Calories can be piled on in other ways. It’s the ‘buffet effect’ – if you’re not careful you can lose track of what you’ve had if you don’t plan in advance. Sometimes people buy lots of different things and keep piling it on the BBQ without thinking about how much they really need to eat. Try prioritising the things you really enjoy instead of thinking that you have to have everything.
How about you – is there anything you struggle with, in terms of managing your weight this time of year? Why not share in the comments below, Tweet me or comment on my Facebook page – I may be able to make some suggestions to help.