After a seemingly endless winter, warmer months are finally upon us — summer is here! The beautiful weather, outdoor activities and delicious BBQs (even if they're in your backyard this year) make this season a favorite for many people. But with the end of typical routines, summer can be a challenging time to stay on track with a weight loss journey. We’ve compiled our best tips for helping to avoid summer weight gain during the warmer months while still enjoying everything the season has to offer.
Why do people gain weight in the summer?
It’s a common misconception that seasonal weight gain only occurs in the winter. After all, we tend to be surrounded by hearty, holiday foods and stay mostly inside during the colder months.1
A combination of factors may make the numbers on the scale creep up during the summer break. Just as you may not want to work out when it’s freezing outside, you’re probably not as thrilled about exercising in the scorching summer heat. Extreme weather conditions, whether they be cold or hot, may put a damper on workout routines. In addition to the heat, all of the summer treats can be hard to avoid (think: ice cream, hot dogs and sugary cocktails) and can thwart your weight loss progress.
What’s more, our schedules tend to be different during the summer months. The days are longer, which can lead to later bedtimes — and potentially more late-night snacking. Many of us also have children who are home from school, which can make it difficult to stick to self-care routines.
So how can you enjoy the summer months without gaining weight? We’ve compiled a list of our ten top tips to avoid summer weight gain.
1. Stick to a schedule
It can be tempting to deviate from your usual routine in the summertime, but one of the best ways to maintain your weight during these months is to set and stick to a schedule. Research shows that a change in your routine — any time of the year — may disrupt your exercise and eating habits.2
2. Stay consistent with sleep
Many of us have some time off work or school during the warmer months. Whether you have the entire summer free or just a week, try your best to stick to your usual sleep habits. Of course, things will inevitably come up that will alter your schedule, but going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day can make a huge difference.
Not only will you likely feel better when you get enough sleep, but your metabolism may also benefit.3 Part of this is due to your natural circadian rhythm which controls your sleep cycle and natural 24-hour body clock, and also helps regulate your metabolic processes.4 Consistently getting a good night's sleep and leveraging your circadian rhythm could help you lose weight and prevent unwanted weight gain.5 Research has shown that not getting enough sleep and disrupting your natural rhythm could lead to unwanted weight gain by interfering with your metabolism.6
3. Eat regular meals
Summertime can also lead to changes in what and when you eat due to longer days.
By eating with your natural circadian rhythm, when your metabolism is working most efficiently, you’re leveraging your body’s natural fat-burning abilities.5 An example of how to incorporate this into your routine would be to eat between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and then refrain from food or beverages for the next twelve hours (which includes sleep), when your metabolism isn’t working as optimally. This digestion break can let your body rejuvenate. Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, is based on the latest Nobel-prize winning research around circadian rhythm.
Studies have also found a link between obesity and eating more calories late in the evening.7 Another tip: try to avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast, as you could be missing out all the health benefits of eating earlier in the day.
4. Make healthy food choices
Ice cream by the pool, hot dogs on the grill, s’mores by the campfire — summer is full of nostalgic snacks and high-calorie treats. Of course, enjoy dessert in moderation, but making healthy food choices the majority of the time can help prevent unwanted weight gain.
5. Incorporate fruits and vegetables
Summer is the perfect time to load up on fruits and veggies because it’s when fresh produce is most plentiful. If it's accessible, try visiting your local farmers’ market to see what different seasonal fruits and vegetables are available. For Jenny Craig members, this is a great way to stock up on your Fresh & Free Additions. If you can't access a market, frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious and are an excellent choice!
6. Sip the right things
When it’s warm outside, sometimes there’s nothing better than an ice-cold beverage. But it’s just as important to consider what’s in your cup as well as what’s on your plate. While it may be tempting to reach for an ice-cold soda, sports drink or alcoholic beverage, these types of drinks are loaded with empty calories.
Another type of beverage that can lead to summer weight gain is alcohol. Alcohol can easily derail your weight loss progress. Instead, opt for sparkling water; the fizz adds a little fun and you’ll still be able to keep on-track with your weight loss goals.
Water is always the best choice for a beverage, as your body needs it to function properly and stay hydrated.8 You can dress it up by adding fruit for a little color and subtle taste. Another healthy drink option is unsweetened iced tea!
7. Find time to get moving
Carving out space in your schedule to get active can be difficult in the summertime, especially if your children are at home. You aren’t alone if you feel like you should be spending time with them instead of squeezing in some activity. But taking a little time for self-care is one of the best ways to take care of your family.
If you feel like you can’t leave your kids to squeeze in a workout, don’t worry. You can still get your heart pumping with them by your side. In fact, spending time with them can be multitasking at its finest — allowing you to exercise and bond with your children.
Try getting outdoors with your kids. It doesn’t matter if it’s the park or even your own backyard. You can play sports, make up games, take a walk or ride bikes. You’ll get your heart rate up and your kids will likely be tuckered out: it’s a win-win.
Check out our tips on how to create healthy family fitness habits!
9. Try a new activity
Warm weather and longer days are perfect for trying new types of physical activity. If you’ve been working out inside during the winter and spring, try getting outside to walk, run or ride your bike. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise — and trying any of these activities can meet that requirement.9
You can also use the summer to try new activities or revisit old favorites. Hiking and swimming are always popular, or try something like paddle boarding or an outdoor yoga.
10. Consider joining a group (even if it's virtually!)
Connecting with like-minded individuals — even if it's virtually — can help keep you motivated during the summer months.
Try an online class like yoga, barre or kickboxing. Connect with people online in a group forum and share your different fitness ideas. If you're a Jenny Craig member, your consultant is an excellent resource. You can also join the Jenny Craig Motivational Support Group on Facebook for additional support.
We hope these tips help you avoid summer weight gain — and make it your best (and healthiest) summer yet!
Are you ready to make a change in your life and improve your health this summer? Get healthy meals delivered straight to your doorstep for as little as $12.99 a day.
 Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, 14 June 2016, pp. 1048–1059., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001.