Nutrition Wellness

The Healthy Way to Slim Down for Summer

March 28, 2019

The Healthy Way to Slim Down for Summer

It’s almost May, which means summer is almost here! For some people this may be the best news they have heard in months. But for others, this may be terrifying. Why? Some might be frustrated because they haven’t lost the weight they were planning to for their New Year’s Resolution, or they dread looking at themselves in shorts, tank tops, and swimsuits.  If this is you, know that you are not alone – I would bet most people are feeling the same way.  Listed below are some tips to help you feel your best so you are summer ready.

Losing Weight Does Not Happen in a Week

I’m sorry to say that if you are just now deciding you want to lose 50 pounds in time for the summer, you might not reach your goals (I’m a realistic dietitian). With this in mind, give yourself a goal to losing 1-2 pounds of body weight each week. This is achievable, and provides more long-lasting results! Even if you don’t reach the look you wanted for this summer, you will be losing weight healthfully and working towards a weight you can keep for the rest of your life.

Tip the Scale – Burn More Calories than You Consume

The best way to lose weight healthfully and effectively is to burn a little more than you consume. Luckily for us, everyone burns calories even when they lie in bed all day (this is called your resting metabolic rate, or RMR). Usually we maintain our weight when we are eating about the same amount as we are burning at rest. Think of a balanced scale, one side being your RMR and calories burned through activity, and the other side being the calories consumed through food & drink. The more active we become, the more calories are burned, which makes the ‘calories burned’ side of the scale higher than the ‘calories consumed’ side.

For losing weight, this is the visual you want to achieve. Keeping the ‘calories burned’ side of the scale higher can be difficult for some. Based on years and years of research, we have found that this is most easily accomplished by a reduction of anywhere from 250-750 kcals/day, plus having a good workout.

Focus on How You Feel

Rather than focusing on a number on the scale, focus on how you feel. Does increasing your activity mean you aren’t huffing and puffing when you walk up the stairs anymore? Are you finding that lifting your kids isn’t as strenuous any more after lifting weights at the gym? Does your hair feel softer now that you’ve incorporated more fruits and vegetables into your diet? Do you have more energy? This is what is important. The more you focus on how a healthy diet and regular exercise makes you feel, the more at peace with your weight you will be, plus the body fat will come off on it’s own.

Seriously, Don’t Focus on the Numbers

Muscle weighs more than fat. If you are regularly exercising (especially weight-training) and eating a healthy diet, there is a good chance you are losing fat and gaining muscle. The reality is that your scale can’t tell you if that is what is happening. It might even show weight gain. Only you can tell what is going on in your body by how you feel and how you look.

Overall, the best way to lose weight is to not focus on the weight loss at all – focus on making healthier choices for you and what makes you feel alive. Make goals about trying new recipes, buying local produce, participating in a 5k this summer, or training for a 10k. These goals are far more enjoyable to be a part of rather than goals of “losing 10 pounds”. Healthy choices do lead to weight loss with time and patience. Even if you make these different kinds of goals, I can assure you the weight will come off with time. Plus! You may feel much more at peace with yourself and your body. Now that is something I can get on board with!

Be sure to check with your doctor or registered dietitian about what weight loss goals are achievable and healthy for you.

Looking to speak with a Primary Care Provider? Find your perfect match!

CHI Health offers discounted nutrition counseling in partnership with MD Save.

3 Comments
  1. Avatar

    Lesley

    Simple and realistic tip to follow about eating healthier instead of concentrating on losing weight. My new motivation

  2. Avatar

    Pamala

    Muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound is a pound wether it’s fat, muscle, water or carrots! The difference between muscle and fat is that muscle is more compact so therefore takes up less space on the body. It’s not unusual for a person to not move the scale much yet have their clothes fit better when they’re working to lose weight because they’re building muscle as they lose fat.

  3. Avatar

    Michelle Yates, RD

    Pamala, thank you for that important explanation - muscle does not weigh more than fat in the sense of 1 lb to 1 lb, that is obviously an equal weight. However, 1 lb of muscle is smaller in size than 1 lb of fat. Fat has more buoyancy and less density than muscle. Thanks for your thoughts!

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