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Summer Can Add on Pounds

So start planning on how to keep them off

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

SUNDAY, July 20, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Summer's a time for becoming active, going outdoors and getting into shape.

Throw in a few barbecues, some heat-induced ice cream cravings and the water retention that follows, however, and the best of summer slim-down regimes can unravel.

For many, Fourth of July celebrations in particular can start a downward spiral of overeating that can continue through the summer. But experts say there are some effective means of stopping that downfall without having to pass on all of the summer foods you love.

A study looking specifically at the temptations to overeat at holiday celebrations found that simply making sure to bring paper and a pencil along to that summer picnic can make all the difference.

The study, published in the journal Health Psychology in 1998, found people who were the most diligent in monitoring and taking notes of their eating behaviors were the most successful in avoiding weight gain during three food-oriented holiday weeks.

Experts also recommend simply taking advantage of the normal activities of summer, such as swimming, bicycling or even taking a daily walk as means for keeping your weight down.

Debate continues over which types of diets or weight loss programs are most effective or nutritious, and experts with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases agree that there's no perfect diet, because what works well for one person may not be right for the next.

But they do advise that, whatever diet program you're on, you should allow for no more than one pound per week (after the initial weeks, when initial water loss can be greater), and you consult a doctor before starting any kind of weight loss program.

More information

Visit the National Institutes of Health for more information on staying fit any time of the year.

SOURCES: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; American Psychological Association
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