Summer Fun Without Weighty Problems When the Beach is Calling


Ah, those lazy days of summer – taking a ride out to the beach, laying your blanket on the sand, soaking up a few rays and playing in the surf. Spending time walking along the boardwalk, a day trip to an amusement park or enjoying an outdoor barbeque – are all good times associated with the summer. Symbols of summer also include light and fly away clothing, and shorts and bathing suits that are usually quite brief. Sleeves tend to be nonexistent in the summer. In fact, the entire season is revealing – everything hangs out.

Unfortunately, if you have a little extra weight, that also hangs out or around or is simply embarrassing. You can cover it up and even conceal it, but you know it is there and so does everybody else. It is no fun to sit out or walk in the sun layered in clothing. You can bare it all, but you know people will look and comment.

If you cannot take the heat (literally and figuratively), it is time you got out of the kitchen (also literally and figuratively). Don’t mope or even cope – become motivated so you can enjoy summer like you always have wanted to.

The Importance of Motivating yourself

Motivation can be external and imposed or internal and arrive from personal goals. This is based on Self Determination Theory (SDT) which identifies motivation as either self-motivation or controlled motivation.[1] Research indicates imposed or controlled motivation does not work as effectively. In terms of weight loss, it is also less likely to result in long term effects. [2]

If you want to be confident on the beach and comfortable in your own skin, maybe you need to sit down and decide what you want. Doing what others want you to do will not make you happier. It will also not help you lose weight. You must decide for yourself. Once you make up your mind, you have the beginning of self-motivation. This will help you achieve your target.

What You Need to Do

Everything starts with a simple decision. You then need to follow it up with a plan. How do you do this? It is relatively easy. The first steps go like this:

  • Sit down with a pen, pencil and paper or at your computer – whatever works for you
  • Prepare a list of your goals. Keep it simple, SPECIFIC, and make sure it is realistic. You need to be aware of what you want and what you can really accomplish during a set amount of time.
  • List the benefits of weight loss as it affects you. Don’t concentrate on what it means for your family unless this is part of your own PERSONAL motivation.
  • Consider any possible obstacles in the way of your goals – This can refer to relatives, co-workers, friends and family. It can also mean your own doubts and fears.

As soon as you have prepared your list tell your friends and family about it. They need to know. This will help strengthen your motivation to join a weight loss program or, at least, learn about healthy weight loss. It is also important to get others on board. You will need all the support you can get.

If family and friends are not supportive, it can reduce your chances of long-term success. If this is indeed the case, or you simply do not have anyone to be there for you, join a weight loss support group. Talk to your doctor and see if he or she knows of any such groups.

Motivation Part 2

When you have the basics in place, you need other ways to encourage yourself to stick to the weight loss program. Visualization is a popular and effective tool to use. Since it is summer that seems to affect you the most, consider what you actually want your body to look like when the summer rolls around. Focus on that summer beach bikini or, abandoning that long, loose flowing clothing for something a little lighter and shorter.

If it helps, post a picture of your ideal summer outfit. Place it wherever you spend any small amount of time. The bathroom is always good. The fridge door is always an excellent place to attach a picture of what you want to look like. Further reinforcement can come if you:

  • Already have a picture of yourself from previous years looking good in a swimsuit or summer wear to tape to a mirror
  • “Photoshop” a picture of what you would look like in the specific article of clothing. This will give you a clear picture (pun intended) of what the new, confident you would look like

Things to Remember

You did not become overweight overnight. The process was a gradual one building up over months and years. As a result, the removal of the extra weight is not going to take place overnight. You should not concentrate on the scale numbers but rather think about how much better you are feeling physically and emotionally as the weight begins to come off.[3] Think of it as being part of a voyage towards a new life. You need to pace it comfortably. You also must be prepared for a set-back or two. This is why you need to bolster your motivation with the support of friends and groups.

Talk to your doctor about the feasibility of your weight loss plan. See if there is anything he or she can help to increase your chances of success. You need to be prepared with all the ammunition to fight this battle. The proper diet is but one step. You need to have support and, above all, self-motivation. Put this all together and you will be able to walk onto the beach with confidence knowing who you are and what it took to get you there.


[1] Ryan RM; and Deci EL (2000).  Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being. American Psycholology. 55:68-78.

[2] Webber, KH; Tate, DF; Ward, DS; and Bowling, M. (2010). Motivation and its Relationship to Adherence to Self-Monitoring and Weight Loss in a 16-week Internet Behavioral Weight Loss Intervention. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 42(3): 161-167.

[3] American Heart Association (2011). No-Fad Diet 2nd Edition. New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers.


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