Six Steps to Slim Down This Summer (Sweating Optional!)

It’s too hot outside, and you don’t want to exercise. Well, that’s no longer an excuse! Dr. Lavinia Rodriguez says finding ways to exercise in the summer is easier than you think. Summer provides an excellent opportunity to get creative with your workout routine and have fun doing it!

Tampa, FL (July 2010)—With many parts of the country experiencing record-breaking heat waves and rising temperatures sure to continue until the long-awaited arrival of Labor Day, exercising is the last thing many people want to do. Gearing up to go out into the scorching heat for any errand, much less strenuous exercise, seems downright dismal.

There’s nothing to feel guilty about if you can’t take the heat, sympathizes Dr. Lavinia Rodriguez, a clinical psychologist who is trained in treating eating issues and weight problems. But she also warns that forgoing exercise altogether until the weather gets cooler is simply unacceptable.

“The objective is to sustain an active lifestyle for an entire lifetime,” says Rodriguez, author of Mind Over Fat Matters: Conquering Psychological Barriers to Weight Management (iUniverse, 2008, ISBN: 978-1-4401-0228-8, $14.95). “You want to find as many ways as possible to stay active throughout the entire year.”

While there are a slew of products promising to reduce your waistline and help you shed pounds instantly, exercise has proven (and lasting) results. It doesn’t matter if you engage in the latest exercise rage or stick with tried-and-true walking. “Taking an all-or-nothing approach to exercise in the hot summer months will probably result in your sitting in the cool air conditioning catching up on your DVR,” says Rodriguez. “Mixing up your activities is a must.”

Summer should be the time when you let go of your workout expectations and explore new activities you’ll want to continue all year long. Read on for some tips for finding the right exercise for you this summer:

Back to basics. Many people start aggressive workout programs with high hopes of drastic pounds shed and inches lost. Unfortunately, this is not a reality for most. Going back to step one and establishing realistic expectations and obtainable workouts is key. Not only does having a solid understanding of how exercise effects weight loss empower you to make better decisions, you’ll also see better (and faster) results.

“A solid understanding of how to exercise properly goes a long way in getting your desired results,” explains Dr. Rodriguez. “The objective is to move at a pace that gets your heart rate up where you experience heavy breathing, but not to the point of pain. As always, exercise should be enjoyable, or you’ll never be able to make it part of your daily routine!”

I like to move it, move it. Just because it’s hot doesn’t mean the only way to exercise is with a pricey gym membership. Dr. Rodriguez offers simple alternatives to make the ways you like to move exercise. From playing with your kids to gardening and cleaning house, your daily activities can get your heart pumping and calories burning.

“Make a list of the ways that you like to move,” suggests Rodriguez. “This list might include dancing, swimming, jumping rope, water aerobics, playing tennis, and so on. Finding fun activities inside and out will give you endless opportunities to remain active.”

Take advantage of the great outdoors. Summer provides a much-needed relief from noisy gym classes and gives you the opportunity to take in the beautiful scenery as you get fit. Finding ways to be active in the dog days of summer is a must and not even that difficult!

“Summer is the perfect time to make exercise a part of your daily routine,” Rodriguez points out. “For one thing, the weather is warm, so outdoor exercise is much more fun—especially in the milder mornings and evenings. Also, the days are longer and sunnier, giving you more time to enjoy Mother Nature. Remember, there is no better fat burner than an active lifestyle!”

Reconsider the idea of a “hard” workout. Contrary to popular belief, not all workouts have to end in sweaty t-shirts, red faces, and out-of-breath bodies. While these workouts are great (and obtainable for some), traditional workouts are not the only option to weight loss. Finding activities that you enjoy and making them “aerobic” is an easy way to get on the exercise bandwagon.

“The body doesn’t care how we move—just that we move!” says Rodriguez. “While something like playing with your kids in the pool may not be considered ‘formal’ exercise, if kept at a steady pace, it can be. Look for fun alternatives to running or walking that will still challenge you physically.”

Find a way to fit fitness in. With today’s 24/7 lifestyle, it seems harder and harder to find time to exercise. When people think of summer, they think of long, lazy days, but it’s actually full of barbeques, vacations, and shuffling the kids to and from camp. In fact, one of the most relaxing seasons is actually the most stressful! Holding a tight line and staying committed to your workout routine is not easy, but it’s essential to maintaining a fit lifestyle.

“Think about it this way,” suggests Rodriguez. “If you had a doctor’s appointment, you would make sure nothing interfered with that time. Your exercise time should be given the same priority. If anyone asks to see you during your exercise time, decline and reschedule. Creating healthy habits only increases your chance of slimming down.”

Mix it up (workouts, not cocktails, that is)! The monotony of a workout regimen can make even the most dedicated athletes shriek with horror. Let’s face it, working out is not always enjoyable and at times can feel like a chore. Having options can reduce your workout anxiety and help you get into the best shape of your life.

“Nothing says you have to do the same form of exercise all summer,” says Rodriguez. “Use summer as an opportunity to experiment and try new activities by yourself or with your family and friends. The more you vary your exercise routine, the more enjoyable it will be and the more likely you will want to continue.”

“So you see, just because you’re not running several miles daily, it doesn’t mean you aren’t exercising,” Rodriguez concludes. “Summer provides the perfect opportunity to find ways you like to move and ultimately start living a happier, healthier lifestyle.”

About the Author: Dr. Lavinia Rodriguez is a clinical psychologist and an expert trained in treating eating issues and weight problems. For more than 30 years, she has observed how people set themselves up for failure through unrealistic diets and exercise programs, as well as through buying into out-and-out scams designed to take advantage of individuals who seriously want to improve their health and lives. She is concerned about people being misled regarding the most effective ways to lose and manage weight over a lifetime.

Over the years, Dr. Rodriguez has treated many people, has written articles on the subjects of eating disorders in particular and weight loss in general, and has written a book titled Mind Over Fat Matters: Conquering Psychological Barriers to Weight Management.

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About the Book:

Mind Over Fat Matters: Conquering Psychological Barriers to Weight Management (iUniverse, 2008, ISBN: 978-1-4401-0228-8, $14.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and through major online booksellers.


Health to Happiness