In these dog days of summer, there’s no shortage of sun, fun — and food.
The key to surviving the season without regret is gaining independence from overeating, according to TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization.
TOPS provides the following 10 tips to help you do that:
Red, White, and Budgeting
Overeating can be discouraging to wellness efforts, especially when you have to make an appearance at the beach the next day. One of the best ways to avoid overindulgence is to budget your caloric intake. Allow a bit of wiggle room by eating lighter meals before the festivities so that you can enjoy a few of your favorite treats later on.
Sense and Sensibility
Hot dogs, bratwurst, potato salad, sweets, and cocktails are summer staples, and they can be enjoyed in moderation. Be sensible about meal choices. For example, a hot dog with a side salad and chocolate chip cookie will allow you to indulge but not overdo it with empty calories.
Dress It Up
A great way to gain your independence from overeating is to fill up on healthy calories. During the summer months, fresh fruits and vegetables are far more abundant in grocery stores and at farmers’ markets. Dress up your salad, sandwich, or just your plate with fruit and vegetables. Healthy cooking options include grilling, steaming, drying, or simply enjoying raw.
Beware of Liquid Calories
A cocktail or two certainly won’t put you over the edge, but remember that alcoholic beverages, as well as sodas, juices, and smoothies, may contain excess calories. Liquid calories can sneak up on a person’s calorie budget quickly. Alcoholic beverages also impair your judgment, which can often lead to overeating. Stick to water with a hint of lemon or try a calorie-free sparkling water.
Going to a party, picnic, or festival on an empty stomach can often lead to overindulgence. Make smart food decisions before, during, and after your time out on the town by choosing high-fiber foods like apples, whole grains, and nuts to keep you full for hours.
Don’t Go It Alone
Enlist the help of a family member or friend to take the journey towards food independence with you. The support of another person can provide motivation and inspiration that you may not be able to find on your own. Connect with others who are also seeking to improve their wellness by joining a local chapter of TOPS. Visit www.tops.org for more information and to find a location near you.
Shake It Up
The summer months are ideal for taking your fitness routine outdoors. Burning off extra calories can be easy and does not necessarily have to involve indoor gym time. Everything from gardening to a round of golf is good for your body. Anytime you get your body in motion, you burn calories and refresh and energize yourself for hours to come, helping you to make better dietary decisions.
Savour the Flavuor
Remember the hot dog and chocolate chip cookie referenced earlier? Will you even remember how it tasted once you’ve eaten it? Take time to enjoy your food, and by doing so, you will make your meals more relaxing and will likely avoid overeating.
Hold the Sauce
Sauces, dressings, and other condiments, especially those at parties or gatherings, are typically full-fat and high calorie. They can easily add hundreds of calories most eaters overlook entirely. Consider bringing your own dressing from home or using a minimal amount of the dressing provided at the gathering.
Studies have shown that individuals who use small serving plates and glasses tend to eat and drink less than those who use larger serving ware. Smaller serving plates force you to take less food at one time – a simple trick that works!
TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss support and wellness education organization, was established more than 62 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success. Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, TOPS promotes successful, affordable weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness information, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.