Dr. Powell's Summer Survival Guide

Summer-Proof Your Waistline

It’s summer time! Between barbecues, hanging out poolside, hikes and family vacations, your healthy eating efforts may take a backseat during these fun — but busy —summer months. Even when you’re on the go this time of year, you can still make healthy, wholesome eating choices. In general, eating healthy requires planning and thinking ahead to minimize eating out. While eating out is fun and delicious, indulging too often can lead to your body feeling sluggish and low on energy and can detract from fun experiences this time of year. Let’s talk through some of the most tried and true ways to make nutritious eating happen during the busy summer months.

1. Be Realistic. Trying to lose weight during the summer may be a self-defeating goal. Maybe a better goal is to maintain your weight. Set a goal that’s realistic. But if you plan on losing weight you have to have a plan.

2. Eat Before You Eat. Your first challenge is here! A lot of people try to starve themselves before a big meal. Don’t do it! The best strategy is to eat before you eat. An ideal amount is at least 60 calories of lean protein 20 minutes before the event.*Remember the gut lecture–see video.

3. Get Enough Sleep. During the summer, prioritize your sleep. This is a busy time of year, but at least 7 hours of sleep helps control your hunger and stress levels. *Remember the Ghrelin concept–see video.

4. Sneal Every 2–3 Hours. Try to eat a small meal or sneal every 2-3 hours to keep your digestive system constantly working. Learn more about Snealing at CarbEssentials.net.

5. The Secret To Losing Weight Is Eating. Don’t skip meals. This backfires because you come to the next meal over-hungry and eat even more. Eat sneals throughout the day. *Remember the 4-hour rule.

6. Plan For BBQ’s. Before you go to a BBQ, decide how much you are going to allow yourself to eat and remind yourself of your weight goal. Fill your plate with protein first. Eat a sneal before you go! See rule #2.

7. Contribute Something To The Cookout. If you bring guilt-free food, that's one less item on the table with a big caloric question mark over it. We're not suggesting you roll up with a bag of celery -- check out our blog at Carbessentials.net for recipe ideas everyone will love.

8. Use Your Grill. Summer is the best time of year to crank up the grill for your meals. Avoid things like brats wurst, hot dogs or fatty meats. Take advantage of the grill for making lean delicious things like pork loin, chicken breast, turkey burgers and even lean hot dogs.

9. Have A Strategy For Stress. If the summer months are stressful for you, have a healthy plan in place to deal with your emotions and stress instead of turning to food. Try to find a healthy activity that you can turn to when you feel stressed.

10. Keep Active. If you spend all day, every day, just sitting around your home, you'll be more likely to idly munch out of boredom. Rest and relaxation are great, but get in some activity too! The calorie burn is an added bonus...if you burn it, you earn it!

11. Stay Hydrated. It's hot out there! And did you know dehydration can trick your body into thinking its hungry, when what you really need is some good old-fashioned agua? Remember to keep the water flowing wherever you go, and carry around a refillable water bottle when possible. Ask for the water handout.

12. Socialize Over Eating. When you first get to a BBQ/event, take time to engage people in conversation instead of heading directly to the buffet line.

13. Ignite Your Metabolism. Despite the summer rush, eat something when you first wake up and start your day. *Remember my 4-hour rule.

14. Slow Down. Eat slowly and enjoy each mouthful. You’ll eat less. Grandma was right, slow down and chew your food. *Remember my gut lecture–see video.

15. Beware Of The Buffet. Too much choice can leave us feeling overwhelmed and lead us to making rushed decisions. Be aware that while it may seem obvious which dishes are good and bad options, salads with lots of dressing or mayonnaise are not ‘good options’ just because they are better than fried foods. You don’t need to load your plate and make several trips just because the food is there.-Ask Dr. Powell about his buffet story. Go for the protein first!

16. Be Ready For A Reset. Let's face it, indulgences happen, and they should. But don't let a weekend of brunches and birthday parties turn into a month-long affair. Start fresh the very next day.

17. Beware Of Why You Are Eating. Make sure you are only eating if you are hungry, and not just munching because food is near.

18. Build A Better Burger. Create a healthier burger with half of a whole wheat bun, lean meats, and delicious veggie toppings. Add our calorie-free Walden Farms condiments.

19. Fill Your Hands. When you attend a cookout, grab a glass of water to hold in your hand so that you aren't as easily tempted to keep reaching for the finger food.

20. Traveling. As soon as we reach the airport or make the first stop on the highway, we are in holiday mode. Setting yourself up for many bad eating choices throughout your vacation. Plan your food well before you set off bringing plenty of healthy sneals with you to avoid craving other sugary or fatty foods. Bear in mind that on your day traveling to and from your vacation you really are not burning enough calories. Find other things to amuse you on your journey instead of resorting to eating out of boredom.

21. Eating On Vacation. One of the best things about visiting a new place is trying the local cuisine and dining out socially with family and friends. We can often do this every night while on vacation without thinking anything of it. Opt for grilled dishes with veggies and protein.

22. Find Eating Alternatives. Make a list of things to do besides eating: take a walk, call a friend, do some cleaning, etc.

23. Use A Calorie Counting App. Such as; Lose it, My Daily Plate, My Net Diary. Ask our staff to show you your particular nutritional requirements.

24. Check Yourself Out When Eating. Hang a mirror up opposite you when eating, as seeing your reflection appears to cut down on how much you eat by a third.

25. Change Your Coffee Order. While coffee itself is not a bad thing, the dairy and sugars that often go into it can be real calorie traps. For the next few months, swap your usual latte for black coffee, green tea or herb tea. You may well find that after a few weeks, the milky, frothy lattes you once adored have lost their allure… this is the ‘brain retrain’ you’re after: a change of mind to change your shape.

26. Use A Plate. Always eat everything off of a plate. This helps you see exactly how much you are eating vs. snacking or sampling that can add up to more than you’ve estimated. This is called food amnesia.

27. Bored With Plain H2O? Staying hydrated is vital during the summer heat. If you are bored with drinking water, sip on any zero calorie beverage.

28. Take A “Alcoholiday”. Sadly, alcohol is chemically similar to sugar, so drinking it will set off the same insulin resistance that can promote weight gain. Your glass of Chardonnay or your Mojito contains plenty of calories, but very little nutritional benefit — so, for a few weeks, aim to give it (and your liver) a break. Think of it as an "alcoholiday." And if you must drink? Try a white wine spritzer; make every second drink water; and watch the mixers. (OJ will double the calorie count of a vodka shot.)

29. Add Minutes Between Seconds. Try to wait at least 15-20 minutes between each trip to the buffet. This will help your body get to the point of feeling full before you overeat.

30. Move Your Body. Any additional activity will burn calories. Go on a walk, play with the kids, do anything that helps get you up and about to help counteract the inevitable extra vacation calories.

31. Look For Small Steps With Big Rewards. Small things can help cut your total calories, such as scraping off some of the icing from a cake or cupcake.

32. Ready To Drink/Eat Sneals. Take your bars and shakes with you when you are on-the-go. If you have access to a microwave then our entrees and soups are also suitable to be taken away with you, offering that little bit of support when you need it.

33. Celebrate The holiDAY, Fourth of July. Remember it is a holiDAY, not a holiWEEK, not a HoliMONTH. Only allow yourself the actual holiday to splurge if you want, but keep to your plan the rest of the season.

34. On the Side Please. Order any dressing or sauce on the side Remember to dip, not drench!

35. Read The Menu Carefully. Where you can, try and pick one of the healthier options on the menu. Bear in mind that the way something is described to be cooked is likely to give you a clue about how many calories it will contain For instance, anything that is pan-fried or roasted has probably been cooked in oil or butter. Pick steamed, boiled and/or grilled instead.

36. Be Prepared. Pack emergency sneals that can stand the heat, like our jerky, chips, ready to drink protein shakes, and bars without meltable layers.

37. Stay Positive. Listen to that voice in the back of your head. Is it positive and moving you toward your goals? Or is it destructive and undermining your weight loss efforts? Remember, even negative self-talk can be changed by positive thinking.

38. Eat A Sneal Before Drinking. Alcohol on an empty stomach will make your blood sugar drop and your body will want to EAT. It is best to never drink on an empty stomach, be sure to eat some protein and carbohydrates prior to drinking.

39. Use A Small Plate. When you select your plate, pick the smallest plate available so that your portions will be smaller.

40. Give Your Leftovers To The Guest. If you struggle with eating too many leftovers, send them home with your guests when you host a party or BBQ this season.

41. Make A List Before You Shop For The Big Event. The "plan your meals" bit works only if you also write down everything you need before you shop. Again, it's common sense, but it's uncommonly used.

42. Focus On The Process, Not The Outcome. When you're losing weight, think of an outcome and then find a process that takes you there.

43. SHARE. Share an entree when you go out for dinner. This will help you avoid over eating.

44. Pass On The Breadsticks. Ask your waiter to take away the bread basket! Instead, have a glass of water before your meal. Example:Olive Garden breadsticks are 140 calories each!

45. Prepare For The Boat Trip. Our non-melting sneals are guaranteed to help keep you feeling full for a longer period of time--bonus! These foods don't need to be kept cool, and therefore can be left in the heat.

46 Get A Cooler. If you're going on a road trip or to the lake you'll be able to cart along healthy options, like cut veggies, lean cut meats, and light yogurt. If you're going to the beach for the day, you won't be stuck buying cold drinks every hour. And if you're camping or picnicking, you'll be a hero to the whole group!

47. Take It One Day At A Time. It’s easier said than done, but the basic rule of thumb is to take it one day at a time. You’re more likely to fail if all you focus on is the end goal. Concentrate on the day ahead of you.

48. Check Out All The Options Before You Chew. Going to a BBQ? Peruse all the food items being offered before filling up your plate. This will help you find the most diet-friendly options and determine what might be worth splurging on. Go for the protein first!

49. We Are Your Weight Loss Partner. Be accountable to someone else for your weight. Be sure to come in and we will weigh you weekly, that way someone else is seeing your weight instead of just you.

50. Consistency Is Key. Staying consistent is important because it provides you with the time you need to build new habits and see the results of your hard work. It takes about 3-4 weeks to implement a new habit, stick with it! You can do it!.

51. Be Careful About Chip & Dip Purchases. Don’t buy chips too far ahead of an event or you may be tempted to eat them. Store them out of sight to help save them for the event instead of becoming a snack.

52. Brush Your Teeth After Meals. Flossing or brushing your teeth after eating will limit your desire to snack or eat between meals. As a result, you will not feel like eating after brushing your teeth and not to mention the bad taste that it gives the food.

53. Beware Of The Ribs. Ribs come in all shapes and sizes, but no matter how you cut ‘em, restaurant ribs need to stay off your summer menu. A quarter pound of beef or pork ribs weigh in at 534 calories and are loaded with saturated fat, and that’s before you slather on barbecue sauce. When cooking ribs at home, skip the sauce and us low-fat spices like mustard, garlic, and chili powder. They’ll add delicious flavor without many calories.

54. Avoid Grazing Stations. If you tend to graze during BBQ’s or cookouts, do not stand in the same area as the food.

55. Pay Attention To Portions. Use these 3 memorable points of reference: A tennis ball or baseball = about 1 cup. This measurement is useful for scoopable sides (think: potato, pasta and bean salads). Aim for 1 cup. Your iPhone = about 3 ounces of meat. This measurement comes in handy for steak, chicken and fish. Your thumb = about 1 tablespoon. This measurement comes in handy when you’re trying to estimate dressing or a spread. Choose reduced-fat varieties, which usually have half the calories, whenever you can.

56. Have A 2-Drink Minimum. If you're drinking alcohol, remember that it is high in calories so try to limit your consumption to a drink or two.

57. “Prioritize” your favorite food. If you’re dying for a big cheeseburger, get in line at the grill. Stick with a green salad or grilled vegetables and fruit as sides. Not so big on buns? Go for grilled chicken or fish on top of greens and spend that starch serving on a scoop of the creamy potato salad you truly love. Does dessert look irresistible? Dig in. Just make room for it first. Have a piece of lean protein (chicken,fish), grilled vegetables and a healthy side.

58. Go For A Morning Walk. Get outside in the morning before the summer sun hits, and have a nice stroll down the block.

59. Try A Workout Video. Try a workout video if it’s too hot to go outside.

60. Wrap Your Burger. Burger crazy? Skip the bun and wrap it in lettuce for a savings of about 150 calories!

61. Go For The Protein First. Lean proteins help you to feel fuller than carbohydrates or fats, so enjoy a little bit of what’s grilling: chicken, fish or a lean-beef burger.

62. Fill up on vegetables. Eat loads of green salad—with a couple of teaspoon–caps of dressing, preferably one that’s lower in fat. Crunch on the veggies—go easy on dips—instead of chips.

63. Don’t go crazy with starchy carbs. If you’re trying to keep a cap on calories, limit yourself to 1 cup—total—of starchy side dishes, such as potato, pasta and those delicious bean salads. Of course, you’re not going to whip out a measuring cup at a social event! Instead, visualize a tennis ball—that’s about the size of 1 cup. So is the size of a woman’s fist.

64. Junk The Juice. Fruit juice is a higher sugar, lower-nutrient version of it’s source — and it contains less fiber, too. You might as well be drinking a sugary soda.

65. Go For A Swim. Keep cool and burn calories. Swimming burns tons of calories! Water is 800 times denser than air, it burns more than twice the calories of walking.

66. When You’re Finished, Go Play. Start tossing a ball with the kids. Rally the adults to play horseshoes or some other outdoor game. No need to jump around like a fool to “burn off” dinner; the point is to pull yourself away from the chips and salsa.

67. Avoid Nighttime Hunger. When nighttime hunger strikes, distract yourself until the temptation subsides by exercising, reading or taking a bath. Never reward yourself with food.

68. Slim Down Favorite Recipes. Look for and invent lower-calorie versions of your favorite summer recipes. CarbEssentials has many ingredient options that can help you with this. Come in and ask our staff for help!

69. Add Water. Drink water with your meal, hydration can curb hunger and boost your metabolism by up to three percent.

70. Love Yourself. Think positive and speak kindly to yourself and about yourself to others.

71. Relax With Stretches. Avoiding the heat? You can do stretches while watching your favorite show in the comfort of your air-conditioned living room.

72. Eat The Same Number Of Sneals Every Day. You shouldn’t skip a meal or planned sneal. It disrupts your hunger cues and puts you at risk of eating stuff you'd typically avoid, or of overeating when you finally do eat.

73. Skip The Breakfast Carbs. Skip the breakfast cereal, muffins, bagels, and donuts. These just make you hungrier!

74. Focus Your Food Passions. You don't have to eat only carrot sticks, but practice moderation and don't eat every dessert available. Pick one dessert that you love and savor it.

75. Avoid Office Land Mines. Summer brings office potlucks. Limit yourself to one trip, load your plate with protein and avoid the potato salad.

76. Swap Desserts For Fresh Fruit. Even though I don’t normally suggest eating fruit due to it’s sugar content, it is the better alternative to ice creams and cookies. Fruit is also high in nutrients.

77. Pair Fruit With Meat. Eat equal amounts of meat and fruit. Fruits such as melons are 90% water. Eating more will keep you hydrated, which is especially good for your skin. Eating the protein with the fruit will keep blood sugars stable.

78. Reward yourself. Weight loss is about discipline. It’s ok to indulge and reward yourself every once in awhile, as long as it doesn’t turn into a whole day or week of rewards. Weight maintenance works best when you occasionally give in to temptation.

79. Use A Personal Activity Monitor. These are a great tool for motivating you to move more. Set a goal of walking so many steps in a day and use your tracker to meet your goals.

80. Cut Out The Soda. If you cut out two cans of soda a day, you can lose 1/2 lb a week–even if you make no other changes.

81. Protein, Protein, Protein. Always include protein in every meal/sneal. Protein is the component of your meal that keeps you fuller longer and controls your appetite and blood sugars throughout the day.

82. Know Your Treat Intake. If you have a sweet tooth, allow yourself a small amount on a plate. It will help you to eat only that amount.

83. Keep Sneals On Hand. Always pack some sneals and keep them in your purse and car for those times when you are hungry while out and about.

84. Move To Make You Happy. Move your body everyday in a way that makes you happy. Try to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes.

85. CHEW. Chew your mouthful at least 20 times. Eating slower can help you eat less because it gives time for your brain to recognize when you are full. It will shut off your appetite before you’ve eaten too much.

86. Beware The Meal Size. Make your breakfast and lunch the larger meals of your day, and make dinner a sneal.

87. Have A Daiquiri Strategy. Daiquiris sound light and refreshing, but their nutritional profile is big and bloated. An 8-ounce strawberry daiquiri, for example, packs more calories than a double-patty hamburger and is loaded with fat and sugar! Limit your supply, and look for zero calorie mixers.

89. Pay Attention. If you’re not paying attention during your meal you are more likely to lose track of how much food you’re eating, and end up consuming 25% more calories than you really need.

90. Take A Break Before Overeating. If you are tempted to overeat at a meal, tell yourself that you can always eat more later, and put your utensils down and take a break.

91. Package Up Half Your Meal. When eating out ask your server to package up half your meal before they bring it out.

92. Vitamin C. Vitamin C inhibits the production of cortisol, a hormone that essentially tells your body to ‘store fat’.

93. Hydrate Often. The summer heat makes you more susceptible to dehydration. Start off your day by drinking two glasses of water and keep drinking at each meal, as well as before and after your workout, to stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to stay hydrated.

94. Don’t Let Temptation Control You. Sit further away from the snack table, eat smaller portions, and have small sneals® throughout the day so you’re not tempted to gorge.

95. Stand Whenever You Can. Standing burns 1.5 times more calories than sitting. Stand when you’re at the doctor’s office, when you watch TV, even when you work at your computer. JUST STAND.

96. Start Your Day With Protein. Eating at least 15-20g of protein first thing in the morning will increase your calorie burn all day long.

97. Instagram Your Meal. Taking a snap of your meal cannot only make others envious of your food, but it also benefits those love handles. Researchers suggest that taking a photograph of food just before you eat, concentrates the mind to eat not only healthier foods but also less of it.

98. Eat Fresh. Every Sunday, take 15 minutes to plan what you’ll eat for dinner in the coming week, and then hit the store with a list. If you’ve got what you’ll need to make dinner each night you’re less likely to reach for a takeout menu.

99. Drown Out The Pounds. Water is like fat-burning fuel: It’s what your metabolism requires to function, especially in the summer heat when we tend to lose water faster than normal.

100. Beware Of Liquids. Fruity drinks, beer, soda, and wine go down so easy and can add hundreds if not thousands of calories to your daily intake. Drink more water.


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.