Summer is here and with it comes traveling, camping, boating, barbeques, and company. Here are some things to think about to help you stay on your weight loss journey.

Weigh in 2-3 times each week. You stay accountable to yourself and prevent those unwanted pounds from gradually coming back.

Eat a protein dense breakfast. This will help to keep your metabolism functioning in an optimal way. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, people who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese. Yogurt, a protein drink or a protein smoothie can be appealing on a hot summer morning.

Drink water. Researchers at Virginia Tech discovered that people who drank two glasses of water before eating a meal ate less and lost over 30% more body fat over a twelve week period than those who didn’t drink water. Adequate hydration is also important to keep your metabolism functioning briskly. If you are at all de-hydrated (and this occurs before you even perceive thirst) your metabolism slows and this can account for a 3-5 pound weight gain per year. Flavor your water with fresh mint, oranges, cucumbers, lemons, limes and /or strawberries. Avoid a lot of caffeinated products as caffeine is a diuretic and you will end up being dehydrated.

Keep food records. Although this can be a tedious task for some, it helps you to be aware of what you are doing with your eating and then you can see where you need to make some changes or fine tune things. Researchers have studied people who have maintained their lost weight for 5 or more years. One factor common to them all was that they continued to keep food records. If things get a bit hectic for a couple of days try to be mindful of what you are putting into your body. Return to record keeping as soon as you can.

Increase activity. Leading an active lifestyle will go far in helping you to maintain a healthy weight. The body needs to be active to use the calories that we give it. When we are primarily sedentary, those extra calories get stored as fat tissue. If all else were to remain constant, and you increased your activity by 100 calories a day, you could lose about ten pounds in one year! Walking one mile (or 2000) steps) burns about 100 calories for the average person.

When traveling, incorporate physical activity into your plans. When you have company, include them in a walk or a hike to explore the local area.

So… enjoy the summer and the sun. Walk, bike, swim, hike, garden, mow the lawn, and enjoy those fresh fruits and vegetables and even the occasional ice-cream.

Fun Facts About Summer

July is the month where most ice cream is sold in the US. That’s why it’s National Ice Cream Month. Americans eat about 5.5 gallons of ice cream per year on average.

Ice pops were invented by accident in 1905 by 11 year old Frank Epperson. He mixed soda and water and left the mixture out overnight with the stirring stick still in it. Since the temperature was low, the mixture froze. He patented the idea in 1924.

Watermelon is not a fruit, but a vegetable.

France’s Eiffel Tower can grow by more than 6 inches in summer due to the expansion of the iron on hot days.

One of the more annoying parts of summer are the mosquitoes, which have been around for 30 million years. It’s said they can find warm-blooded mammals from 100 feet away.

The first day of summer is known as the summer solstice and in the US it falls on June 20 or June 21 each year, depending on when the sun is furthest north of the equator.

Solstice comes from two Latin words sol and sistere. Sol means sun; stitium is the verb which means to stand still.

Even though this is the longest day of the year, it’s not the hottest, due to something called seasonal temperature lag, which means that it takes a while for the oceans to let their stored summer solstice heat back into the air. That’s why it tends to be hotter in July or August than in June.

Kathleen Baskett, MD is the Medical Director of Weight Management at St. Vincent Healthcare. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the author of “Moving Forward: The Weigh to a Healthier Weight”.