7 ways to beat summer weight gain

Read how you can stay on track to fit into your summer wear

UMNIA SHAHID July 24, 2015
A study shows that women lose more weight during summer time. PHOTO: FILE

We typically blame the winter holidays and rich foods prepped by mum for winter weight gain. But summer foods can do just as much damage. As compiled from Health magazine and Seattle Sun Post, here’s how you can stay on track to fit into your summer wear.

Go easy on tea and lemonade

When you’re thirsty and water doesn’t seem to quench your thirst, a cold glass of lemonade or the Pakistani favourite, doodh patti, is considered as the perfect solution. But these drinks can be major sugar bombs, says Dr Brian Quebbemann, a bariatric surgeon in Newport Beach, California. “Commercially-sweetened iced tea or sugary teas made at home have over 80 calories per glass, lemonade has 99 calories, and most commercial fruit juices are about 80 calories per eight ounces, which is roughly the same amount of calories as a regular cola.” When you want to drink something sweet, dilute 100 per cent fruit juice with equal parts water, suggests Quebbemann. 

Read: 3 reasons crash diets and rapid weight loss are harmful

Keep the fresh in fruit salad

Summer and fruit go hand-in-hand and there’s no gainsaying that fruit is packs a punch, but not if your salad comprises canned fruit soaked in syrup, is loaded with whipped cream and garnished with mini marshmallows and raisins, as it often is at summer picnics, says Quebbemann. “This is an incredibly heavy, high-calorie treat, and it’s about as devastating to your weight control and health as you can get.” Cut calories by using fresh fruit rather than canned, light whipped cream or substitute plain yogurt, which provides added protein. Replace the marshmallows and kishmish with banana or melon slices to add more sweetness. 

Prep your food right

Refreshing beverages, such as squashes with full fat milk and cold potato salads often contain surprisingly high amounts of fat and calories. “To stay in shape or even lose weight during the warm season, you need to follow two simple guidelines,” says Quebbemann. “First, there’s always a healthy option for the type of food you want. Second, it’s not only what you choose to eat but how you prepare it that makes the big difference.” If you’re craving Rooh Afza, indulge in it but use scanty amounts of the delight in water. 

Read: Want to lose weight? Eat little, but often

Go easy on the toppings

Ending the day with a colossal bowl of ice cream to quench the summer heat can put your daily calorie intake far over the top, especially if you choose a packaged variety, which most of us do. A small size of chocolate mud pie could add up to more than 600 calories and 45 grams of fat. Swap it for sorbet at 150 calories for the small version. “Get a cone, the lowest calorie option,” Quebbemann says. “Moderation is key.” 

Keep salads light

Salads can be a great low-calorie food choice … or a major calorie bomb. Cold, creamy pasta salads may be one of the worst calorie offenders. Salads decked with cheeses, for instance, can clock in over 600 calories per serving and 17 grams of fat. “Plus, they’re typically made with refined [white] flour pasta, which lacks fibre,” says Michele Dudash, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families. Green salads can also ruin your work at the gym if you overdo the toppings and dressing. “Many people load up on salad greens and then pile on the dressing,” states Quebbemann. Four tablespoons of dressing can have nearly 400 calories, mostly fat. Buy low-fat dressing or, if you make your own, substitute mayo with Greek yogurt, he suggests. 

Include seasonal vegetables

It might seem as if all the fresh produce is over for another season, but that is not true. Summer offers a fantastic harvest of vegetables your entire family will love. Be it lauki or turai, veggies keep you cool in the summertime without adding inches to your waistline. Grab some mint leaves or podina to add zing to your smoothies and salads. Add cucumber to your yogurt to liven it up and make sure to add cooling chukandar and baingan to your diet stay hydrated as well as fit.

Weight-train yourself

The quest for the most effective fat loss, body-sculpting, metabolism-boosting workout in any season leads to weight training. Even in the scorching heat, utilising dumbbells, barbells, cables and weight machines can, in fact, cool you down by promoting healthy perspiration and a faster metabolism. Especially in the summer, you’ll notice all sorts of unexpected benefits, for example, improved immune system, better self-esteem, flexibility, strength, stamina, and the list goes on. But, of course, like most people, looking and feeling fabulous in the summer is priority, so make use of the weight room next time you hit the gym. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th,  2015.

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