5 Slimming Summer Habits That You’ll Enjoy

In a perfect world, we would stay on top of our eating and excise game year-round and enter into summer feeling confident and bathing suit-ready.  But in reality, it can be challenging to remain consistent with healthy-weight-producing habits year-round.  This conundrum leaves many of us wondering how we can lose a few extra pounds in a short period of time to feel more confident heading to the beach, a pool party, or putting on shorts for the first time in nine months.  

The most effective way to slim down and stay positive about how we feel throughout the summer is to adopt some bloat-busting habits.  Bloat, holding on to excess water weight, can make us feel uncomfortable and cause unwanted puffiness.  When extra water builds up in the body, it can cause bloating in our abdomen, legs, and arms- all the areas that tend to be exposed more often during the summer months.  Often bloating can cause us to carry an extra two to four pounds of water weight.

Losing this excess water weight can make us feel more comfortable and allow us to feel more confident in our summer attire.  Plus, losing extra water weight doesn’t have to be painstaking. In fact, this article will share five fun summer habits you can implement to stay feeling slim all summer long. 

#1 Enjoy An Iced Coffee 

Iced coffee is a great way to cool down, increase your energy, and help you lose weight.  Plus, it tastes great!  Caffeine, which is found in all forms of coffee, has been shown to reduce feelings of hunger and appears to help you burn more calories even when you’re at rest.  

Studies on coffee indicate that drinking a cup of joe can promote weight loss by suppressing your appetite.  Specifically, drinking coffee thirty minutes to four hours before a meal may suppress short-term caloric intake.1   Additionally, it has been shown that consuming coffee can make you more likely to eat less throughout the day compared to people who do not drink it.2

In addition to reducing feelings of hunger and caloric intake, coffee has also been shown to help increase caloric expenditure.  Studies suggest that the caffeine in coffee increases energy expenditure by increasing thermogenesis (the heat we produce at rest) and by enhancing fat oxidation (the body’s process of breaking down fatty acids).

However, before you head to Starbucks, keep in mind that an iced coffee will only be helpful in the weight loss department if you keep it pure.  Avoid adding sugary syrup flavors or creamers. Instead, add to its taste by asking for non-fat milk or milk alternative and choosing a flavored roast like hazelnut.  

#2 Grill Up Some Meat and Potatoes 

Eating simple carbohydrates can lead to water retention and bloating.  For every gram of carbohydrates you ingest and store, there are about two to three grams of water retained.  Generally speaking, when you eat processed carbohydrates, you are often consuming higher amounts of sodium as well, which, as we’ll get into later in this article, also causes you to retain water and feel bloated.  So this summer, fire up the grill and enjoy plenty of bloat-busting foods like salmon, chicken, and sweet potatoes. 

Grilling meat, vegetables, and potatoes on the grill is a great way to avoid eating processed carbohydrates.  Plus, eating specific foods that are also high in vitamin B6 can compound your efforts to reduce water weight and bloat. 

Vitamin B6 has been shown to decrease water retention, particularly in women.  Foods such as salmon, chicken, and potatoes (russet potatoes are as well) are high in vitamin B6.  If grilling just isn’t your thing or if you are vegetarian, keep in mind that bananas are also high in vitamin B6.  

#3 Season Like A Pro 

Spending your summer grilling up lean meats and vegetables is a great way to shed bloat and lose weight.  However, seasoning your healthy choices with salt can cause you to feel more bloated.  

Cutting down on your salt intake is probably the most effective way to lose excess water weight.  As a health coach, my clients are often shocked when they lose up to five pounds of water weight in a week just from reducing the amount of processed and fast foods they had been eating.  Water is attracted to salt like a magnet.  So when we eat too much salt, our body holds onto the extra sodium and draws water with it.

To grill lean meats, potatoes, and vegetables without sacrificing flavor, try using seasonings other than salt.  Using herbs, spices, and seasoning blends can help you create delicious meals while keeping your salt intake low.  I like to mix seasonings with vinegar and let my vegetables and lean meats marinate overnight.  The Cleaveland Clinic does an excellent job of suggesting what herbs you should pair with different types of foods in this post: Flavoring Foods Without Salt.  

#4 Start Your Day With a Walk 

There are many benefits to starting your summer mornings off with exercise.  Taking a walk in the morning will allow you to get a workout in before it gets too hot, help to improve your mood, and help you sleep better.  Plus, most relevant to this post, morning exercise can help to reduce bloat and promote weight loss. 

When we exercise, our body shifts water that is normally sitting outside of our cells, causing blot and puffiness to our working muscles.  This shift helps to reduce water retention and decreases the “soft” look that no one appreciates.  In addition to reducing bloat, morning exercise has been shown to help regulate our hunger hormone levels, suppress appetite, and create a higher fat burning rate, when compared to exercise that takes place after breakfast.

#5 Cool Down With Some Ice Water 

It sounds counterintuitive but not drinking enough water actually increases water retention and bloating.  If your body is regularly dehydrated, it will retain more water in order to prevent water levels from becoming too low.  Therefore, by staying well hydrated, especially during the summer months, your body will more readily allow water to be removed from the space outside of your cells, which will reduce bloat and help you to lose excess water weight.  Drinking ice-cold water can also help to speed up your metabolism, which leads to weight loss. 

Drinking water, especially cold water, has been shown to increase your metabolism.6,7  When we drink cold water, our body needs to warm it to match its core temperature.  This process requires energy, which is provided by our bodies breaking down stored fat cells, a process known as lipolysis.  When consumed regularly, cold water consumption can help to speed up your metabolism and promote fat loss.

To learn how drinking a glass of water before a meal can help you lose up to 15 pounds in a year, click here.    

Summary 

Not all of us will be entering summer at our ideal weight, but we can all feel firmer by losing excess water weight.  Losing extra water weight can help us feel more confident in our summer wardrobe, and losing this extra two to four pounds that many of us carry around doesn’t have to disrupt our summer fun.  By adopting a few painless habits, we can feel less bloated all summer long and beyond.  These habits include: 

  1. Enjoying an iced coffee 
  2. Grilling lean meats and potatoes  
  3. Seasoning foods without using salt 
  4. Taking a morning walk 
  5. Cooling down with an ice water 

Establishing these summer routines can help you to feel more firm this summer, even if you are still working to achieve your ideal weight.  Thinking beyond summer, if you like to explore how to establish a successful and sustainable weight loss plan in more detail, you can do so by reading my book WeightLost: 5 Steps to Achieving Your Ideal Weight and Gaining the Life You’ve Always Wanted.  

References:

  1.  Schubert MM, Irwin C, Seay RF, Clarke HE, Allegro D, Desbrow B. Caffeine, coffee, and appetite control: a review. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Dec;68(8):901-912. doi: 10.1080/09637486.2017.1320537. Epub 2017 Apr 27. PMID: 28446037.
  2. Gavrieli A, Karfopoulou E, Kardatou E, Spyreli E, Fragopoulou E, Mantzoros CS, Yannakoulia M. Effect of different amounts of coffee on dietary intake and appetite of normal-weight and overweight/obese individuals. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Jun;21(6):1127-32. doi: 10.1002/oby.20190. Epub 2013 May 13. PMID: 23671022.
  3. Harpaz E, Tamir S, Weinstein A, Weinstein Y. The effect of caffeine on energy balance. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2017 Jan 1;28(1):1-10. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp-2016-0090. PMID: 27824614.
  4. Ebrahimi E, Khayati Motlagh S, Nemati S, Tavakoli Z. Effects of magnesium and vitamin b6 on the severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms. J Caring Sci. 2012 Nov 22;1(4):183-9. doi: 10.5681/jcs.2012.026. PMID: 25276694; PMCID: PMC4161081.
  5. Iwayama, K., Kurihara, R., Nabekura, Y., Kawabuchi, R., Park, I., Kobayashi, M., Ogata, H., Kayaba, M., Satoh, M., & Tokuyama, K. (2015). Exercise Increases 24-h Fat Oxidation Only When It Is Performed Before Breakfast. EBioMedicine, 2(12), 2003–2009. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.10.029
  6. Dennis, E. A., Dengo, A. L., Comber, D. L., Flack, K. D., Savla, J., Davy, K. P., & Davy, B. M. (2010). Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle‐aged and older adults. Obesity, 18(2), 300-307.
  7. Boschmann, M., Steiniger, J., Hille, U., Tank, J., Adams, F., Sharma, A. M., … & Jordan, J. (2003). Water-induced thermogenesis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 88(12), 6015-6019.

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