AmericanBikiniWe’re just a few days away from the unofficial first weekend of summer, so it is time to jump-start your weight loss plan now!   So, here are 8 tips to get yourself into your bathing suit and onto the beach:

  1.       It’s beautiful outside – be active!

When the weather is nice, it’s much easier to be active, especially outdoors.  Unsurprisingly, data consistently reveals that exercise tends to be seasonal: Americans are generally most active in the spring and summer and least active in the fall and winter, so be sure to take advantage of the beautiful weather. This can be as simple as a morning walk, yoga in the backyard or a quick afternoon hike. The American Heart Association recommends exercise 30 minutes a day, five times a week. However, you’ll experience the same benefits if you divide the time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes each day, which could mean a quick walk during your lunch hour and then a rejuvenating bike ride or walk after dinner.

  1.       People Tend to Eat Less in Hotter Temperatures – so do it!

Studies show that people tend to eat less due to decreased appetites in warmer temperatures.  It is speculated that this has to do with body heat regulation—as our bodies attempt to stay cooler and we crave lighter foods so that our bodies don’t have to use a lot of energy (and create heat) in order to digest heavier foods.  Of course, the caveat here is not to overindulge in ice cream during the hot summer days. Instead, try a healthy alternative like watermelon—it’s light, sweet, cool and will not overheat the body or disrupt your weight loss goals!

  1.       Cut Down on Sugar

Regardless of calories, sugar can be a real weight loss blocker. It is recommended that you keep added sugar to no more than 10 percent of your daily calories.  Please note that this doesn’t include natural sugars found in whole fruits and vegetables.

  1.       Limit Alcohol

Margaritas, Pina Coladas, Mojitos… They’re so yummy and refreshing, but they are also loaded with calories. Unfortunately, the sugar content is extremely high in these drinks; and they contain empty calories that stimulate your appetite and interfere with your metabolism. Be sure to plan ahead for these cocktails and to limit your intake to one or two drinks per week.

  1.       Stop Eating After 8:00 PM

Studies show that overeating often occurs in the evening hours, so be mindful and cut down on the snacks and desserts that your body craves each night.

  1.       Eat Often

“Grazing” has been reported to be the most effective way to achieve weight loss. Eat 6 or more small meals throughout the day to boost your metabolism, and to prevent hunger from sneaking up on you and causing you to overeat.  A good plan is to divide breakfast and lunch into four small meals, rather than two big meals.

  1.       Cut out Artificial Sweeteners

While artificial sweeteners may lack calories, recent studies show that they actually cause your body to crave more sweets!  Try drinking water or seltzer with lemon or lime, and avoid sweet-tasting drinks like  diet soda and artificially sweetened iced tea.

  1.       Choose Healthy Snacks

Crunchy carrot sticks, a handful of unsalted almonds, or a cup of grapes are among the bounty of healthy choices to choose from over the summer.