Skip to content

I'm a Dietitian and These Are 7 Easy Things I'd Do to Lose Weight by Summer

Here's how to lose the weight and keep it off.

If you've gained a few extra pounds over the winter months, you're definitely not alone. Winter weight gain is real, common, and normal. Yet experts say that in the spring, it's a good idea to take inventory and reset your diet and exercise habits. If you lose the weight, you can avoid a subtle creeping of the scale which can eventually reach unhealthy heights.

"A little more to eat coupled with a little less activity can add up to gradual weight gain that, come spring, can be a bigger problem to resolve," says the British Heart Foundation. "If you don't manage to shift it in the warmer months, gaining a couple of pounds every winter can add up over time and have a big impact on our health."

The safest and most sustainable way to lose weight is by making slow and steady changes you can stick to. Many experts say that shedding pounds on a deadline and setting short-term goals can lead to yo-yo dieting and unhealthy habits—not to mention regaining the weight.

However, Maggie Hennigan, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and content creator, said in a recent TikTok post that there are seven things she would do to kickstart her weight loss now if she wanted to see progress by spring or summer. And, unlike many of the dangerous crash diets out there, her advice is based on the sorts of healthy changes that could lead you to long-term success.

RELATED: If You Want to Lose Weight, "Avoid These Foods Like the Plague," Fitness Expert Says.

Focus on sleep.

close up of a pretty woman with curly hair sleeping in bed closed eyes
David-Prado / iStock

Hennigan says that if she wanted to lose weight by summer, one of her top priorities would be to get a good night's rest on a regular basis.

According to a 2022 study published in the journal Nutrients, getting too little sleep or getting poor quality sleep can alter your "eating habits, metabolic rate, and the hormones regulating metabolism."

"I would sleep ideally seven to eight hours of high quality, deep, restful sleep every night," Hennigan says. You can work toward this goal by following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) tips for practicing better sleep hygiene.

Limit eating out.

man and woman dancing in the kitchen
Inside Creative House / Shutterstock

Cooking your meals at home allows you to control the quality of ingredients, portion sizes, and other factors that can influence your health and weight. That's why Hennigan says the next thing she would do is limit eating out to only meals that she's "excited about, and that serve a purpose."

When she wants to tip the scales in her favor, she makes a point of avoiding takeout and restaurants as a backup for not having planned a healthier dinner. Instead, she says she only eats out to "celebrate a friend's birthday, or because there's this new restaurant that I want to try—things like that."

RELATED: Lose 50 Pounds by Following 2 Simple Rules, Successful Dieter Says.

Prioritize protein.

Balsamic grilled chicken breast with fresh herbs sliced on a rustic wooden board

Hennigan says that when you're trying to lose weight, increasing your overall protein intake can help you achieve your goals: "The more protein the merrier."

"I would start stacking my protein sources and swapping regular things for sources that had higher amounts of protein in them. So then I could get a bare minimum of 30 grams of protein per meal," she shares.

Eat a serving of beans with every meal.

Bowl of black beans
AS Foodstudio / Shutterstock

Hennigan says that there's one especially beneficial type of protein that she would incorporate into her everyday diet: beans.

"I would add a serving of beans to every meal or almost every meal to get increased protein and fiber to increase satiety and keep me fuller for longer," she explains.

RELATED: Certain Foods Trigger Natural Ozempic-Like Weight Loss Effect, Doctor Says.

Get more steps in.

person walking jack russell terrier
alexei_tm / Shutterstock

Another way that Hennigan says she would change her daily routine is by increasing her step count: "Whatever I'm averaging right now, I'd add about 1,500 steps to that and make that my goal every single day and then add onto that as it becomes easier and easier."

The CDC says this is a great way to not only lose weight, but also lower your risk of chronic illness, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of walking or other aerobic exercise per week to begin reaping the benefits.

Keep more active throughout the day.

Smiling senior man pruning rose bushes in his garden
Bobex-73 / iStock

Though hitting the gym or lacing up for a run are great ways to get fit, Hennigan says there are also major benefits to less formal types of exercise. For instance, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, moving throughout the workday, doing yard work, or cleaning your house can all ramp up your weight loss.

"It's so helpful to be overall active throughout the day," the dietitian explains. "In your metabolism, there's an area of it called NEAT, which stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which is all the activity you do in a day that isn't dedicated exercise. And just by living a more active lifestyle, I can increase my calorie burn to 100, 200, 300, 400 calories in a day without having to rest after, without getting really sweaty, without having to totally reorganize my day—it's a really great hack."

RELATED: Why Walking Only 3,867 Steps a Day Is All You Need, Science Says.

Cut back on alcohol.

Person Refusing Alcohol
Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock

Studies have shown that drinking alcohol can cause weight gain in several ways. These beverages can quickly pile on the calories, and many contain heaps of sugar. Additionally, some people experience increased food cravings while drinking, and alcohol can even affect your metabolic rate.

Though cutting out alcohol entirely will help you reach your weight loss goals faster, cutting back is also likely to help your progress. "I would probably always stop one drink short of what I wanted," advises Hennigan.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. If you have health questions or concerns, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
Sources referenced in this article
  1. Source:
  2. Source:
  3. Source: