losing weight

How NOT To Lose Weight This Summer

June 27, 2012 at 8:00 am , by

You’d think that summer would be the easiest time to drop a few pounds. You’ll be more active! You’ll eat more fruits and vegetables! Your winter carb cravings are a thing of the past! You’ll probably slim down a little without even trying, right? Not necessarily. After all, summer comes with its own set of weight-loss saboteurs. Parties are a big one—eating a lot of hot dogs, hamburgers and mayo-heavy pasta and potato salads never made anybody’s shorts looser. The other waistline-wreckers aren’t quite so obvious. If you’re trying to de-flab this season, here are three things you definitely shouldn’t do:

1. Drink without thinking. We consume too many liquid calories all year long, but it’s particularly easy to go overboard on sugary beverages in the summer. For starters, you’re just plain thirstier than usual. Then there’s the variety factor. As the temperature rises, the selection of creamy iced coffee drinks, smoothies, slushes, ultra-sweet lemonades and iced teas gets wider (and they’re especially hard to resist when you’re parched.) And that’s just the non-alcoholic stuff! Don’t forget about those margaritas, daiquiris and pina coladas. It’s all basically dessert—and you need to start thinking of it that way. Consider the fact that a 12-oz frozen margarita has 675 calories. Starbucks’ venti java chip Frappuccino packs 580 calories. Even a bottle of Snapple lemonade has 190 calories—30 more than you’ll find in three Oreo cookies.

You don’t have to swear off sweet drinks completely. They do, however, have to be (very) occasional treats. When you need to cool off, your go-to picks should be water, unsweetened iced teas and coffees and other low- and no-calorie drinks. Hosting or attending a BBQ? Make lighter versions of your favorite alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

2. Tell yourself that more sweat = more calories burned. I really wish this one was true. If it was, I’d only need to exercise for about 5 minutes a day in the summertime. Unfortunately, you don’t melt any more fat when you work out in shirt-soaking heat than you would on a crisp fall day, so don’t assume you can get away with exercising less this season. Everyone perspires at their own rate—which is determined by age, sex, genes, weight and shape—so you can’t gauge the toughness of your workout by how drenching it is. A brisk 10-minute walk is enough to make some people perspire, while others are barely even dewy after a 40-minute run. Three things determine how many calories you burn during exercise: frequency, duration and intensity.

If it’s too hot and humid to get a sufficiently challenging workout outside, you can always fry plenty of calories indoors. Check out our do-anywhere “Get Slim Without The Gym” routine, which is just 25 minutes long. Or try a new workout DVD; our friends at Fitness rounded up the best picks of the year here.

3. Do a detoxifying juice cleanse. You might be a little tempted to try one now that we’re in swimsuit season, but seriously: you do not want to jump on this bandwagon. Would a cleanse help you drop a few pounds in time for next weekend’s pool party? Maybe, but it’s usually just water weight; you’ll gain it back once you start eating normally again. Will a cleanse make you cranky, tired, diarrhea-prone and really, really hungry? Probably. (So much for enjoying the pool party.) And you don’t need to “detox”—your organs already have that job covered.

That’s a whole lot of misery just to look a teeny bit smaller in your bathing suit. It’s a waste of money, too—those cleanses can be really pricey (one popular brand costs $65 a day!) If you want to look slimmer for an event, cutting out junk food and high-calorie drinks is a much healthier, cheaper and saner way to go.