Summer - A Good Time to Lose Weight
Lose Weight and Change to a Healthy Diet in Summer
Summer is an ideal time to lose weight and improve your diet. In summer, most people wear fewer, lighter clothes making it harder to cover the bulges and making us more self-conscious. The bulges are even more conspicuous if we want to wear a swimsuit or bikini.
When I was fat, I'd lie in the bath and think I looked like a beached whale so nothing would have persuaded me to bare a lot of flesh to go swimming no matter how hot the weather.
When it's hot, we are less inclined to eat big, stodgy meals. Our bodies seem to crave lighter, fresher food. All of this makes it a good time to change our eating habits and lose weight if we need to do so.
Fresh Fruit Platter
Summer Fruit and Vegetables
You probably know that ideally you should eat around five portions of fruit and vegetables a day - a portion is usually set at around 3 to 4 ozs.
Look around you at the huge selection of delicious fruit available during the summer - strawberries, raspberries (my favourite), melons, mangos, pineapples, to name only a few. Eat them fresh and uncooked and they will not only do you good but they are refreshing and thirst quenching too.
There are also many lovely vegetables in season. I can still remember when I was a child and picking peas in my grandmother's garden. When I'd picked them, I used to sit on the back doorstep shelling them ready for cooking. My grandmother would cook them in a little water with a sprig of mint, also from her garden, and they were delicious.
We would eat them with the summer's new potatoes. Usually, I can take potatoes or leave them but those first potatoes of the season are especially delicious.
I know you are now saying, "Potatoes! I can't eat potatoes when I'm trying to lose weight." I'm here to tell you that you are wrong. I lost more than 42 pounds incorporating potatoes into my diet. I just didn't pig out on them.
Take advantage of each new crop of fruit and vegetables as they come into season during the summer. They will never taste as good at any other time of year. Not only can you lose weight eating a lot of these they are also going to improve your general health.
Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
Get out your favourite cookbooks, or look online, for fabulous salads made with all the in-season fruit and vegetables readily available.
Just remember that salad dressings pile on the calories so look for low calorie alternatives. Either make them yourself or buy them in your local supermarket. In the unlikely event they don't stock them, make a fuss and ask the manager why not.
Experiment with different kinds of lettuce. It doesn't all taste the same. Try adding different types of summer fruit to your salad. You might be surprised how a few grapes or slices of an apple or pear can complement the flavours of the usual salad vegetables.
I love these grills. They are easy to use and help you cut out much harmful animal fat from your diet. I find that using this preserves the flavour better than many other methods of cooking. Some of the best-cooked fish, meat and vegetables I've tasted have been done on my George Foreman grill.
Summer - Barbecue Time
Most of us have barbecues during fine weather but look at low fat, low calorie alternatives. Chicken is one but make sure it is properly cooked - you can always cheat and cook it in your kitchen, just finish it off on the barbecue.
Did you know that venison (deer meat) is even lower in fat than chicken? It is an excellent meat if you are trying to cut down on fat in your diet. If you can't buy it in your local stores, there are many specialist providers selling on the internet who will ship it to you next day in chilled containers.
Don't forget to include some barbecued vegetables like sweet peppers, eggplants (aubergine), tomatoes and onions - you must take every opportunity to eat your daily allowance of fruit and vegetables!
If you don't have outside space for a barbecue, consider using an electric low fat grill instead. When I decided I had to lose weight, this was something I bought and it made a big difference because it doesn't hold the fat in food like steak or chicken. You also don't need to add fat to cook with it.
Breakfast in Summer
Summer is an ideal time to get into the habit of eating a healthy breakfast. OK, you might be one of those people who pride themselves on never eating breakfast but did you know it is the most important meal of the day? It gives you the energy to work through till lunchtime and it is the one least likely to be stored as fat. If you skip breakfast, you will probably get hungry mid morning and then eat something unhealthy - laden with fat and sugar, for example.
Eat a healthy cereal but check the ingredients on the box before buying. You want to make sure you aren't buying one laden with sugar and salt because that is definitely not healthy. Add some summer fruit to your cereal to sweeten it instead of sprinkling sugar on it. Along with a small glass of juice, this would give you two portions of fruit towards your five a day minimum.
If you don't like cereal, make yourself a smoothie with fresh summer fruit or just eat a selection of fruit.
Healthy Summer Breakfasts
Home-made Muesli - My Favourite Breakfast Cereal
Muesli is an excellent breakfast. Don't be put off by the store bought cereal. That often contains a lot of sugar and rather hard unappetising dried fruit. Why not make your own? It is much nicer and healthier too. An added bonus is that you can make enough for several days in just a few minutes.
Here's my recipe for Muesli
Pour raw oats into a bowl (judge for yourself how much you want to use),
Stir in dried fruit like currants, sultanas and raisins.
Next add any seeds you like, eg sesame, pumpkin, then chopped, unsalted nuts - any will do.
If fresh fruit is hard to get, like in the middle of winter, then cut up ready to eat dried fruit like apricots, mangos, prunes, figs and add them to the mixture.
Finally, if you like it, add some cinnamon or other spice. Cinnamon, in particular, is good because it naturally gives the muesli a sweeter taste so reducing the need for artificial sweeteners.
Stir the whole mixture again. I do it with my hands to make sure everything is well and truly mixed. Store in a screwtop airtight jar. Just add lowfat milk and a low calorie sweetener, if needed, when you serve.
Add chopped fresh fruit to the bowl before you eat it.
When I first made this, it was more oats than fruit because I had the store bought muesli as my model. Now I use more seeds, nuts and fruit. It's worth remembering, though, that, oats are recommended to combat cholesterol in the blood so they are important.
Breakfast and You
How often do you eat breakfast?
If you get into the habit of eating healthily during the summer when it is easier, you will find that within a short time you are enjoying your new diet and want to continue this way of eating permanently bringing benefits for your overall health and maybe some weight loss too, if you need it.
© 2009 Carol Fisher