How to Lose Weight for Summer: 32 Tips From Top Doctors
April 19, 2016
Want to get beach-ready? Don’t buy into fad diets — use this expert advice instead
How to Lose Weight for Summer: 32 Tips From Top Doctors
Everyone has some facet of his or her being that causes some unhappiness. Whether it’s awkwardly long fingers, an unfortunately positioned mole, or a few extra pounds around the midsection, we all have one or two things about our own bodies that bug us or that we wish we could change. While some things are more difficult to change than others, our weight is something that can shift if we’re willing to put in the work to do so.
With summer just a few months away, we’re sure that plenty of you are fervently looking for ways to get your body ready for bathing suit season. There are plenty of fad diets and crash diets out there, which many people turn to in such times of body-weight-induced distress, but these methods are usually unhealthy and the results are often fleeting. In order to provide you with some of the best ways to lose weight for beach season, we’ve reached out to top doctors, each specializing in health fields as varied as cardiology, sleep medicine, plastic surgery, and hormone balancing, in order to get professional advice. Click ahead to see what the experts have to say about getting in shape for summer.
Aim for Seven Hours of Sleep Per Night
“Get seven hours of sleep per night,” says Dr. Robert Ziltzer. “Sleep deprivation increases hunger and fat-building hormones.”
“Lack of sleep leads to the over production of the hormone ghrelin,” says Dr. Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP, Board Certified Sleep Medicine Physician and author of The Doctor's Guide to Sleep Solutions for Stress & Anxiety. “This appetite-stimulating hormone is produced by the stomach. In fact, when chronically elevated, ghrelin causes an increased craving for carbohydrates, especially noncomplex carbs, which leads to a rapid rise in glucose followed by surges in insulin. This combination results in increased fat storage and nocturnal eating right at a time when we are the least likely to be able to burn calories.”
Avoid Foods With Bad Bacteria
“Avoid the foods that feed the bad bacteria, including sugar, gluten, and conventional dairy,” says Dr. Josh Axe. This will help you lose weight while mending any damage caused by leaky gut.
Brush Your Teeth After Dinner
Dr. Robert Ziltzer suggests brushing your teeth after dinner instead of having a snack. We know that this is sometimes easier said than done, but it’s a quite effective (and hygienic) method. If you can’t resist eating after dinner, make sure your bedtime snack is packed with protein and slow-digesting healthy fats. And then brush your teeth.
Chew More Slowly
“Studies show that eating slower and enhancing chewing actually helps one achieve satiety faster,” says Dr. Scott Weiss. “Training yourself to chew more slowly during a meal will make you feel as though your stomach is full sooner and therefore [you will] consume less calories.”
Click here for 10 Reasons to Eat Slower.
Choose Your Plate Color Wisely
“Believe it or not, the color and size of the plate actually does matter,” says Dr. Scott Weiss. “Studies have shown that if the color of your meal matches the plate and the plate is of a larger size, then one has a tendency to overconsume. To counteract this effect, use smaller plates and make sure the color of your meal contrasts with the plate to [a certain] degree. For some reason, those same studies have shown that the color blue seems to work the best.”
Connect to Your Big “Why?”
“Losing 40 pounds so you can get on the floor and play with your children, because you want to be a good father and enjoy your kids while they are still young, is insanely more motivationally powerful than losing weight for your ‘health,’” says Dr. Larry Burchett. “What is your big why [and] what are you here to do on this earth? How does living a healthy life [and] losing weight (whatever your goal may be) connect to that big why? Connect those dots, and look out! Daily hamster wheel, here you come!”
Consider Deoxycholic Acid
In addition to eating a balanced and healthy diet of whole, unprocessed foods, implementing a cardio regimen, and incorporating some sort of strength training program, Dr. Richard Swift, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, suggests trying Kybella to lose stubborn fat. While we believe that diet and exercise are more important for weight-loss, the following information is still quite interesting and could, potentially, be for you.
“One of the best nonsurgical ways to rid the body of excess fat is Kybella. Kybella is [an FDA approved] deoxycholic acid that, when injected, dissolves fat. Typically, it is only used on small pockets of fat, for example the submental or neck area, the bra fat area, or inner knees. Swelling normally last one to two weeks and it takes a full four to six weeks to see the true results.”
“Track your calories,” says Dr. Robert Ziltzer. “This simple tool will double your chances of losing weight. Use paper or a smartphone app.” Dr. Ziltzer suggests apps like Lose It or My Fitness Pal. We have 10 more weight-loss apps that we think you should try as well.
Dine Near a Mirror
Dr. Scott Weiss takes the phrase mirror, mirror on the wall to a whole new, nutritionally beneficial level.
“One way to trick yourself into eating less is by actually watching yourself eat,” says Dr. Weiss. “By having a mirror in the dining room or even in the kitchen, you will be able to see yourself eat, and it will remind you of what you’re are doing, and force you to reflect on your goals. This is not meant to be a self-shaming bit, but simply prompt a reminder of what you are hoping to achieve.”
Do What Works for You
“In the long run, there isn't much difference in fat loss between a low-fat and a low-carb diet. What is important [is] what you can stick to,” says Dr. Larry Burchett. “With both diet and exercise, start with what works for you, and what you like, and build from there. If you love bread and are miserable without it, a low carb-diet might not be best for you. Similarly, if you dread running on the hamster wheel every day, it's less likely you are going to stick with that long term. Consider doing something active you like, like walking with a friend or spouse or playing a sport.”
If low-carb is for you, try these Low-Carb Dishes That Will Make You Forget Carbs Even Exist.
Drink at Least Half of a Gallon of Water Daily
Dr. Joel Meshulam, MD, a member of the SignatureMD concierge medical group, has practiced internal and geriatric medicine in the Baltimore area for more than 25 years. He believes that drinking enough water is one of the best things you can do to help regulate your body weight.
Dr. Caroline Cederquist agrees. “Simply put, your body needs water for the metabolic processes to work to burn calories,” says Dr. Cederquist. “Without regularly drinking water, your metabolism will slow down.”
Dr. Meshulam suggests setting 64 ounces (half of a gallon) of water as your daily goal.
Eat More High-Quality Fats
“Healthy fats help change your biochemistry and activate fat-burning enzymes in the body,” says Dr. Westin Childs. “That means add more coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, and healthy nuts into your diet.”
Get Your Probiotics In
“Eat probiotic foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha,” says Dr. Josh Axe.
Dr. Scott Weiss agrees. “Recent research shows obesity is linked to the microbiome, or microbe levels, of the body,” he says. “Consuming a probiotic, much like the kind found in some yogurts, will not only be good for losing weight, but the immune system as well. Surprisingly, the bacteria in your gut can even control mood, so a healthy gut can lead to a happier mood. There is a reason why the gut is known as the ‘second brain.’”
Hit Some HIIT Cardio
“Skip the treadmill and switch to high-intensity interval training (HIIT),” says Dr. Westin Childs. “HIIT helps you burn more calories than slow aerobic exercise in less time. Besides, sitting on the treadmill for 45 to 60 minutes per day has been shown not to be effective in up to 20 percent of people.”
Dr. Scott Weiss also believes that HIIT can be beneficial to your weight-loss mission. “Research shows that it’s not as important what fuel you are burning (i.e. food), but rather the total amount of calories burned,” says Dr. Weiss. “The only way to lose weight is to live by the mantra ‘more out than in,’ in that you are burning more calories than you are consuming. Interval training as simple as combining walking and running will help burn more calories than just walking alone. To get the best caloric burn out of your workout, start including interval training exercises to keep the body guessing.”
Increase Your Vegetable Intake
“One thing is beyond certain: The more vegetables you eat, the longer you will live,” says Dr. Larry Burchett. “Every serving, practically every extra bite of vegetables you eat daily, is linked to living longer and better. Why in the world are we leaving years of life on the table? How can you include more vegetables in your daily meals? Breakfast smoothie? Spinach on a sandwich?”
“For years, people have stressed the importance of cardio exercises, like running, to lose weight,” says Dr. Scott Weiss. “However, researchers found that one bout of jumping rope actually burns more calories than the elliptical, treadmill, or stationary bike at moderate intensity. This means that people serious about losing weight should skip the [traditional] cardio and start using jump ropes or doing jumping jacks instead.”
Make Sure to Include Prebiotics as Well
“Eat prebiotic foods (these foods feed the good bacteria in the gut and help them to flourish) like onions, garlic, raw honey, and asparagus,” says Dr. Josh Axe.
Meal Prep Can Help You Succeed
“Make a plan,” says Dr. Caroline Cederquist. “Plan out your meals for the week and then make sure those groceries or meals are in your home and work place. This does take time and planning, but it will be worth it when you commit to your program and see results.”
Never Shop Hungry
“It may sound like an old-wives-tale, but your grandmother was right to tell you so,” says Dr. Scott Weiss. “People that shop while hungry are more likely to buy on impulse than on need. This normally translates into buying unhealthy or unnecessary food. I recommend eating an apple or banana while (or before) going shopping. Not only will it help prevent impulse buying, but it will help keep your mind right and on a healthy path to lose weight.”
New Exercise Classes Can Inspire Change
“Stay active, says Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, MS, an internal medicine attending physician at the NYU Langone Medical Center and clinical instructor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine. “Try incorporating a new exercise class into your current workout regimen. My specific recommendation: Take a capoeira class! It's an intense workout routine that combines dance and Brazilian martial arts. Not only is it fun and exhilarating, but the workout will help you burn lots of calories and will keep your body strong and toned. Add a capoeira class every week to your current workout schedule, and you will be sure to feel more energized and get closer to achieving the healthy summer body you desire.”
Nutrient-Dense Foods Help Your Body and Brain
“Base your eating plan on nutrient-dense foods like kale, mussels, wild salmon, grass-fed yogurt, and pumpkin seeds that feed your brain, but for fewer calories,” says Dr. Drew Ramsey. “Your brain is the hungriest organ you have. When you feed it first, your body feels satisfied, promoting a healthy weight.”
Oust the Soda and Simple Carbs
“Simply put, quit ingesting soda and white flour immediately,” says Dr. Scott Weiss. “The starchy carbs tend to increase weight gain more easily, and we all have seen how brown soda can affect your health. Anything that can be used to clean toilets and plumbing should not be going in your body. Remove these from your diet, and your weight-loss goals will look more and more obtainable.”
“Your body has to work harder to digest protein, which makes your metabolism burn more calories after a protein-packed meal,” says Dr. Caroline Cederquist. “However, your body cannot store protein, so be sure to eat only 25 to 35 grams of protein per meal (and protein snacks throughout the day) so your body can use it before it is stored as fat.”
For most women, Dr. Cederquist recommends having 100 to 120 grams of protein per day in order to lose fat while maintaining muscle. For most men, she suggests 120 to 140 grams per day.
Put Your Phone Down While Eating
“It may seem obvious, but increasing awareness and mindfulness when eating is key,” says Dr. Drew Ramsey. “Put down the phone, look at your food, take a deep breath, and remember to chew. Eating habits only change if you are truly present.”
Real Food Is Better Than Easy Food
“Protein bars and shakes have their role with very busy people, but as often as you can, eat real food like chicken, fish, vegetables, and salads,” says Dr. Caroline Cederquist.
These 5 ‘Healthy’ Foods Are Hindering Your Weight-Loss Goals, and guess what? The list includes protein bars. Avoid them all while trying to get beach-ready.
Seek Professional Guidance
“The fastest weight-loss will occur under professional guidance with an Obesity Medicine Physician,” says Dr. Robert Ziltzer. He suggests finding a board certified physician by using this website. The site allows you to enter your city, state, and zip code in order to find an Obesity Medicine Physician near you.
Set SMART Goals
“Commit to a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and on a Timetable (SMART),” says Dr. Larry Burchett. “Losing five pounds in two months is realistic for most people, whereas 30 pounds in 30 days is often a recipe for riding the weight-loss and regain rollercoaster. Keep your goals SMART, write them down, and let your inner motivation guide you as opposed to forcing yourself externally.”
Skip Breakfast Twice Per Week
“Stop eating after 7 p.m. and skip breakfast two days per week,” says Dr. Westin Childs. “This allows you to go 14 to 16 hours without eating (aka intermittent fasting), which helps reduce insulin levels and helps burn fat.”
Smell Food Frequently
“This might sound counterintuitive but the more you smell food, the less hungry you will become — provided you are not already starving, of course," says Dr. Scott Weiss. "Researchers have found that smelling food throughout the day actually tricks the brain into thinking you’re eating thus reducing the craving for food.”
Stock the Office Fridge Smartly
“Keep fruits and vegetables in the company fridge every week so that you have to get through your healthy food before eating any naughty snacks,” says Dr. Monya De, MD, MPH, internal medicine specialist. “You'll have fewer sugar cravings, and when you're busy at work, you're going to be less picky about what you eat.”
Try Personalized Multivitamins
“Get the right vitamins!” says Dr. Arielle Levitan, MD, co-founder of Vous Vitamin LLC and co-author of The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear the Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health. “Taking a Personalized Multivitamin that meets your unique needs will help provide your body with the right nutrients. This in turn reduces cravings for unhealthy foods and gives you added energy to put towards exercise and planning meals appropriately.”
Well-Lit Rooms Help Portion Control
“While it may be romantic, eating in a dimly lit place actually increases the amount of food one will eat,” says Dr. Scott Weiss. “To combat this this, make sure you are eating in a well-lit room where you can see your food. Not only can you better admire the dish in front of you, but [you] will eat less of it too.”