How to Lose Weight Quickly for the Summer

Spring has sprung in many areas of the country and summer will be here before long. Do you have a few pounds of holiday or winter weight you need to lose before shorts weather arrives? Read on for some fabulous tips to quickly drop that extra five or ten pounds before swimsuit season starts.

Added sugar is one of the worst possible things you can consume, especially when you're trying to lose weight. It is also ridiculously bad for your health. Not only does it provide added calories without fiber or nutrients, but sugar has been implicated as a major cause of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer and even infections. Both bacteria and yeast thrive by consuming sugar.

Processed food is anything that comes in a box, bag, can, bottle or wrapper, or any food that you can purchase at a gas station or drive thru window and should be avoided whenever possible. It is the primary source of sugar in the American diet. Be especially aware of added sugar in processed foods that are savory or not obviously sweet, like condiments, sauces, salad dressings, bread, canned goods, and especially fast food. Even so-called "health" foods like flavored yogurt, granola, some peanut butters and frozen fruit, and protein bars can be loaded with added sugars.

Be aware that many processed foods labeled "low fat" have had the missing fat replaced with additional sugar to make the taste and texture of the food more palatable. Avoid these items even though they may sound like diet or health food. If you are going to purchase and consume processed food, make sure to read the label and check the number of grams of sugar per serving. Aim for less than 100 grams of total sugar per day from all sources. For more rapid weight loss, keep sugar consumption under 25 grams per day.

If you can't avoid having something sweet, satisfy your sweet tooth with whole fruit, either fresh or frozen. If you do decide to consume natural sugar in the form of fruit, try to do it early in the day so that your body has time to burn the sugar instead of storing it as fat, or make sure it is accompanied by a meal with a decent amount of lean protein, healthy fat and fiber to avoid blood sugar spikes.

Whole vegetables, raw or cooked, are an incredibly healthy way to reduce calories and increase nutrients and fiber, all of which will go a long way toward helping lose that extra padding. This is the reason many diet plans allow their participants to consume unlimited amounts of vegetables. If you only like a few vegetables, then eat those frequently, but explore new ways to prepare them to add variety. Try vegetables that you think you don't like in different forms. For example, even if you hated canned, cooked peas as a child, perhaps you would love the sweet crunch of raw pea pods. If you never liked raw carrots, try adding slivered carrots to a stir fry.

Replacing white or starchy foods that are calorie dense, such as bread, potatoes, rice, and pasta, with colorful vegetables is a great way to lose weight. Don't shy away from eating a small salad and two or even three vegetables with a meal. You'll be surprised by how full you'll be without the starch.

Even nutritionists can't figure out what the lowest calorie foods are on restaurant menus, so avoid eating out if at all possible. If you must eat out, order dishes that you know will be lower in calories such as broth soups and salads that will fill you up quickly. Another strategy is to order an appetizer or from the kids' menu, but be careful to avoid fried calorie bombs and fat- and carb-laden nightmares like macaroni and cheese. Ask that the restaurant not bring a bread basket or chips and salsa prior to the meal, and ask for sides of steamed or fresh vegetables to minimize calories.

Other great strategies include:

Serve up smaller portions and eat less food more frequently with three small meals and three small snacks a day. If you know that you have issues with inappropriate portion sizes or overeating, eat larger portions only twice per day when you are most hungry instead.

Keep blood sugar steady by balancing carbs, protein and fats at each meal and snack, and never eat carbs without some protein and fat.

Keep a small bag of nuts with you or in your vehicle for a healthy and protein-rich anytime snack.

Moisturize and hydrate by drinking lots of water to help dry winter skin bounce back after weight loss. If you hate drinking plain water, drink sparkling mineral water in a tall glass with lots of ice and add beautiful slices of fruit on decorative toothpicks for flavor.

Even if you hate to exercise, add some type of physical activity that you enjoy to your daily routine. Even if it is just a quick walk around the block when you get the mail, try to get outside every day for some fresh air and sunshine to increase well-being and vitamin D levels.

While following these guidelines will undoubtedly result in quick weight loss, they are also safe enough to be used as a plan for long-term weight loss and a healthy lifestyle change through summer and beyond.

If you would like more information on how to reach your goals, click here.