Summer is Here: Are You Ready?

Couple on the beachEach spring, millions of people resolve to be “beach-body ready” by summer.  Unfortunately, summer has that tendency to sneak up on you, and by June, somehow those bikini abs have eluded us once again.

“In many of my patients, I see the weight loss happens slower than expected, or maybe not at all,” said Erin Spenner, registered dietitian with the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center. “That’s disheartening and makes it hard to stay motivated.”

We don’t need to look like models—all that matters is that you feel good about yourself in the summertime and all other times of year. Here are three questions to ask yourself if you find your own progress has stalled.

 1. Do you have a specific goal in mind?

Rather than a vague concept of losing weight, Spenner recommends tangible, easy-to-manage goal setting.

“One thing to always ask yourself is, ‘What exactly do I want to achieve here?’ This is something I work on with my patients as well as something I need to continually ask myself,” Spenner said.  “Big goals such as ‘I want to lose weight’ are difficult to grasp, let alone work on.”

Instead, single out a few concrete goals to start working toward, such as decreasing the amount of liquid calories you consume by cutting back on higher-calorie beverages.

2. If you started a new diet, is it actually going to support your weight-loss goals?

Fad diets may show quick results, but they provide few if any long-term benefits and may actually impede your overall wellness.

“There are so many diets out there that promise fast, easy weight loss if dieters will just eliminate this or that food group,” Spenner said. “A diet that cuts out whole groups of natural, unprocessed foods will probably not work.”

Eating a well-balanced diet is essential to lasting weight loss. Any diet plan that you adopt should include foods from a variety of food groups: lean meats or other protein, vegetables, fruit, dairy and whole grains.

3. Are you eating enough to lose weight?

Everything we’re told about weight loss involves cutting back, cutting calories and cutting out various foods—but we need to cut out that kind of thinking.

“I know that this sounds crazy, but you need to make sure you are not eating too little,” Spenner said. “Many people believe that the less food they eat the more weight they will lose. But as anyone who has ever been on a diet can tell you, that pattern does not work very well.”

Having a meal or snack every three or four hours throughout the day is optimal for fueling fat burn.  Make sure that the meals and snacks you are eating come from different kinds of unprocessed foods.

Remember: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. So get yourself going on the right path to feel good about yourself poolside this summer.

Here’s a healthy side-dish idea to help you realize your summer-body aspirations:

Roasted Broccoli with Mustard Sauce, serves four as a side dish
One crown broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets
Half a red bell pepper, diced (optional)
Half a yellow onion, diced small
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp lemon pepper seasoning (or more to taste)
1-2 tbsp water or broth


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with light coating of pan spray. Place vegetables on sheet and roast 8-10 minutes, until they are fragrant and the broccoli is crispy on the leafy tops.
  2. Meanwhile, mix mustard, olive oil, and lemon pepper seasoning together in a small bowl.  Taste, adjust seasonings with salt and/or more lemon pepper if needed.
  3. Thin this sauce with the water or broth to make a thin sauce. Toss with roasted vegetables. Serve hot.