“If you haven’t been focused on your weight or fitness, putting on shorts, a sleeveless shirt or a swimsuit can be very uncomfortable,” says Lauren Zuro, registered dietitian at Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care. “But do not get discouraged. Every day is a great day to improve your health and to see and feel positive results.”
Summer is an especially advantageous time to start new routines, says Zuro. “By getting into better exercise and eating habits now, you will start to look and feel healthier. And if you keep it up, you will be in better shape and more confident for the winter holiday parties and celebratory photos.”
Zuro regularly counsels weight loss patients at Loyola and specializes in non-surgical and surgical weight loss medicine.
Here are tips from Zuro on how you can use summer to your advantage and improve your health:
- Keep meal patterns consistent. “The onset of summer brings about vacations, barbecues, graduation parties, and other social events. Don’t skip meals thinking you are saving calories; plan meals around social engagements and other activities. Be sure to make time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, which will help you stick to your weight loss/nutrition plan.”
- Bring something healthy. “When going to an event, bring a healthy dish to share. That way, you will know there is something for you to eat to stay on track. Try a recipe for a new salad, slice a variety of fresh seasonal fruit or cut up vegetables for a colorful display.”
- Stay hydrated with water. “As the temperatures increase outside, your body’s need for water increases inside. When out in warm or hot weather, be sure to sip water every 15 minutes to stay hydrated. Avoid sugary beverages such as soda, juice (even 100 percent fruit juice), and sports drinks that contain added sugar. They are just empty calories.”
- Visit farmer’s markets. “ Increase your fruit and vegetable intake by taking advantage of local produce available at farmer’s markets during the summer months. You will find a variety of locally grown produce at reasonable costs and you are supporting local farmers!”
- Avoid long periods of sedentary activity after eating. “Take advantage of the warm weather and go for an evening walk after dinner, or a morning bike ride after breakfast. Pack a picnic lunch to take along on a hike.”
- Avoid ballpark and concession stand meals. “The onset of summer means spending more time at the ball fields, and it is tempting to make a meal out of nachos and ice cream. If you are going to be at the ball field during a meal time, make sure to pack healthy options to bring with you such as a sandwich, fresh fruit or mixed nuts. The majority of concession stand foods are loaded with calories from sugar and unhealthy fats and contain little to no nutritional value.”
The Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care is designated a Level 1 facility under the Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). To achieve this accreditation, Loyola had to meet a number of rigorous institutional performance measures.
Since opening on July 10, 2012 at the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus in Melrose Park, a multidisciplinary team of bariatric-certified professionals including surgeons, psychologists, dietitians, exercise physiologists and physicians have cared for hundreds of morbidly obese men, women and children.
Loyola offers non-surgical and surgical options to improve health. Surgical procedures offered by Loyola include laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.
Free information sessions can be found at Loyolamedicine.org/bariatrics or by calling (800) 355-0416.