Labor Day is a time when many have parties to celebrate time off work and bid the summer goodbye. This means delicious foods, and overindulgence feels almost mandatory. Unfortunately, that adds on the pounds very quickly. Here are five tips for dropping that extra weight. 

1. Eliminate Sugar

It is not just the calories in sugar that make it a bad choice when trying to lose weight. It is the effects that sugar has on the body. Table sugar contains both fructose and glucose, and fructose turns directly into fat. To give up those extra pounds gained during Labor Day festivities, eliminate soft drinks, candy, fruit juice, dried fruits, and any processed foods containing sugar. 

2. Eat the Right Fats and Protein Sources

There are good fats and bad fats. The good fats help your body in many ways, including your heart, and can help you shed extra weight. The bad fats are trans fats and saturated fats and are in things like fatty meats, many processed foods, margarine, cheese, lard, and ice cream. The good fats are the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and can be found in foods such as nuts, avocadoes, tofu, salmon and tuna, which also contain protein. So, for ditching the weight gain, replace fatty red meat with lean meats and fish, or other foods containing the good fats. Remember, however, that all fats contain a lot of calories, so watch the serving sizes. 

3. Stay Hydrated

When you are dehydrated, your body will hold onto water, making you feel bloated. Water helps flush your system of toxins and keeps you looking and feeling better. It also helps you feel fuller so you will eat less. As your body breaks down fat, drinking enough water will also help flush this away. The amount of water you should drink is dependent upon how big your body is, in general. One way you can tell if you are getting enough water is to watch your urine. It should be pale yellow or clear. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add fresh lemon or lime. 

4. Reduce Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are sugar and have the same effect on the body as eating table sugar. Avoid white bread, pastries, cookies, and processed cereals. Instead, eat complex carbohydrates, which typically contain more nutrition and break down more slowly, which means they don’t cause the sudden rise of blood sugar like simple carbs do. Foods containing complex carbs include whole grain bread, oatmeal, beans and many vegetables. 

5. Move Your Body

Changes in diet work wonders for weight loss, but if you don’t get exercise, progress will be slower. Exercise revs up your metabolism, increases muscle tone, prevents muscle loss, and increases your fitness. Start slow, with ten minutes of aerobic exercise at least three times a week and strength training the other days. Walking, bicycling and water aerobics are good forms of exercise if you need low-impact activities that are easier on the joints. 

The best weight loss plan is one that can be maintained for a lifetime. Cutting out sugar and bad fats might feel difficult at first, but in the beginning, it is best to avoid cheating. After you have gotten to your ideal weight, you can plan in some cheat days, but just make sure you stick to your plan the rest of the time. Otherwise, you will eventually regain the weight you lost.