11 Summer Weight Loss Tips
1. Set a realistic goal.
While it’s possible to lose weight quickly when you begin your weight loss journey, a healthy rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week.1 With that in mind, set a realistic goal for the summer. Even losing 5% to 10% of your weight could come with surprising health benefits like lowering your cholesterol, blood sugars and blood pressure.2
A few other ideas:
- Reach a healthy body mass index (BMI). If you don't know your BMI, check yours here. Even going from "obese" to the "overweight" range may decrease certain risk factors associated with obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Eat more vegetables. Even if you aren't following a complete weight loss plan, you can make small changes that can add up in big ways. If you're not a huge veggie fan, this might be a great goal for the summer. Try to eat 5-10 fruits and vegetables a day.
- Avoid empty calories. Maybe it's swapping soda for water or passing on the cookies after dinner. Avoiding unhealthy foods that lack nutritional value is one way to start eating a more wholesome diet and support your weight loss goals.
2. Write it down.
Once you’ve committed to your goal, write it down! Grab a journal or even a piece of paper and write down your goal and why you’re committed to it. Keep it handy — by your bed or posted on your refrigerator — so you can review it when you need a little motivation.
Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash
3. Create a vision board.
Who isn’t dreaming about a tropical vacation right about now? Although travel might not be in your immediate plans, creating a board with places you want to visit and things you want to do can serve as motivation for your goals. What is something that you want to do once you lose weight? Perhaps it’s to hike a mountain or snorkel in the ocean. Maybe it’s to feel confident in your swimsuit. Cut out inspirational pictures and make a board you can look at daily.
4. Load up on water-rich foods.
Hello, watermelon. One of the best parts about summer is all of the healthy foods you can find in season. From berries and tomatoes to cantaloupe and cucumber, the options are endless. Loading up on water and fiber-rich foods is a great way to fill up without consuming too many calories. Plus, hydrating foods can help you meet your water intake for the day. Experts recommend drinking at least eight, 8-ounce cups of water a day. (Here are 10 tips to drink more water.)
Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash
5. Watch what you sip.
We see you, piña colada. Mixed drinks and wine spritzers might taste delicious, but they’re filled with empty calories that can lead to weight gain if you’re not careful. Sipping water, club soda or unsweetened iced tea are your best bets when it comes to supporting your weight loss goals this summer. Plus, you'll stay hydrated which actually might make you feel full and help prevent you from overeating (find out if water could actually help you lose weight). Want to spice up your plain H2O? Add colorful fruits, vegetables or even herbs to sparkling water and you’ve got a summer mocktail everyone will envy.
6. Snap a pic (of your food).
Research shows that people who remember their last meal as being satisfying tend to consume less food.3 So take a beautiful picture of your plated Jenny Craig meal, write down what you had for dinner in a journal, or record your last meal in an app.
After snapping a pic, stow away your electronics so you can focus on enjoying your meal. The same research found that those who were distracted at mealtime (e.g., watching TV or reading the newspaper), tended to eat more.3
Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash
7. Hit the hay.
Long summer days can make it easy to stay up late, but make sure you’re tucking into bed at a reasonable hour — or your weight loss progress could stall. Skimping on shut-eye can affect your body’s hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin.4 When you’re low on sleep, your body’s ghrelin levels can increase (this is the hormone that stimulates appetite) while your body’s leptin levels fall (this is the hormone that helps you feel satiated). The combination leads to hunger, which is why you might be tempted to reach for sugary treats to keep you going after a late night.
How much sleep should you get a night? The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get between 7-9 hours.4 If you have trouble nodding off, try one of these sleep hygiene tips to get a better night’s rest.
8. Get moving in the morning.
Is there an optimal time to work out for weight loss? The truth is, any kind of physical activity you get throughout the day is beneficial, but there could be some added benefits of starting your day with a sweat session.
A recent study found that when overweight adults started an exercise routine, everyone lost weight, but those who exercised before noon lost significantly more weight than those who worked out after 3 p.m.5 The researchers note that the early exercise group tended to consume slightly less food and were more active throughout the day, which could have contributed to greater weight loss over time.
Regardless if you’re a morning bird or late owl, you’ll want to try and get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, or a combination of the two as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.6
New to exercise? We’ve got you covered. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Exercise to get started.
9. Grow a garden.
Do you have a green thumb? If so, gardening could be one way to support your summer weight loss goals. In fact, one study found that individuals who participated in community gardening had a lower body mass index than those who didn’t.7
Even better: You don’t need an expansive backyard to grow a few of your favorites. Some of the easiest vegetables to grow in your backyard include tomatoes, peas, carrots, radishes and cucumbers.8 Tending to your own garden is a great way to add extra vegetables to your diet — and it’ll also save you a few bucks at the grocery store.
Photo by Janelle Hewines on Unsplash
10. Be choosy about your condiments.
Summertime and barbecues go hand in hand. While it’s possible to opt for a healthier version of your favorite burger, you might not realize that your toppings are just as important. Mayo, ketchup, ranch dressing and the like can be loaded with calories, sugar and fat, and can add up quickly.
Try this: Instead of regular salad dressing, opt for a little bit of olive oil (1 teaspoon) and balsamic vinegar or grab a Jenny Craig Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing to drizzle on top. Instead of mayonnaise, experiment with nonfat plain Greek yogurt, or slice up some avocado for a creamy alternative. If you’re unsure about a product, the best thing to do is to check the nutrition label on the back.
11. Create veggie-forward plates.
Just because you’re trying to lose weight over the summer doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself, especially when it comes to vegetables! Eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables is a great way to get beneficial nutrients while supporting your weight loss efforts. They’re also packed with beneficial antioxidants which can help boost your immune system.
At mealtimes aim to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, and the other two quarters with lean protein and healthy starches (like rice, sweet potato or corn). Use this visual hand guide to help you measure our portions at mealtime.
We hope these summer weight loss tips were helpful. Now go enjoy the warm weather!
Elisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. An endurance sports enthusiast, she is usually swimming in the pool, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Chico.
Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple
Monica Ropar, Nutritionist
Monica has over 15 years of experience with Jenny Craig, as an expert nutrition and program resource. She develops content, training, tools and strategies for the program to support clients throughout their weight loss journey, and offers inspiration, weight loss tips, lifestyle strategies and motivation. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Dietetics and Exercise, Fitness & Health from Purdue University and continues to stay current on weight management research, consumer trends and healthcare developments.
Favorite healthy snack: raw veggie sticks with homemade hummus
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and reviewed by certified professionals.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
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Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig