Every year, hundreds of young and young-at-heart adults line up for jobs at summer camp. They’re counselors and directors, nurses and lifeguards, and everything in between.
I know summer staff who expect the weight to melt right off during those weeks. “I’m going to be really active, right?” they tell themselves. “I’m won’t even have to try to lose weight!”.
Take if from this life-long camp staffer – that’s not how it works. Summer camp life, despite the added physical activity and the diminished TV time, is often more likely to add pounds to staff. Here’s some advice on how to actually lose weight at summer camp.
Weight Loss tips for you While Working at Summer Camp:
Skip the Bug Juice:
Your water bottle is your best friend. Keep it full and empty it often. Ignore the strangely colored, high-calorie pitcher of punch. If you crave something other than water, stock up on those little pink cartons of skim milk, instead.
Eat Before You Eat:
Camps usually eat three meals a day with little to no snack times available in between. This inspires staff to binge eat at meals, which, combined with the tendency of camp food to be greasy, salty, and generally deliciously unhealthy, is a recipe for weight gain. Hungry counselors are grumpy counselors, so I don’t advise eating less, but eating better.
Read more: Eating less and exercising more
Munch on a few carrot sticks before loading the spaghetti onto your plate. If your camp has a salad bar or fresh fruit available, always start your meal with one or both. Even if you just eat one of those small plastic bowls of salad first, you will feel fuller, faster, which means eating a few less mini corn dogs.
Another major drawback of eating at camp is time. Often meals are 30-60 minutes long, way more time than you need to eat. So after you’ve finished your meal, you sit there with that bowl of French fries by your elbow. Before you know it, you are thoughtlessly munching away on whatever’s convenient.
One solution is to take you time. Eating slowly helps, but a great meal time waster is to get food you have to prepare. Make a sandwich. Slice fruits up into a bowl before you eat. Put bananas into your cereal. More time getting your food ready to eat means less time to munch once you’re finished.
Embrace Opportunities for Exercise:
Depending on your role at summer camp, you may not have the opportunity for that daily morning jog, and you definitely won’t have the energy. At summer camp, it’s important to take advantage of any opportunity to exercise. Race your campers to the dining hall.
Play in the pool during swim time instead of napping on the deck. If you are privileged with golf cart access, hang up the keys and walk; you’ll probably get there faster anyway.
Establish Routines Early:
Whatever you start out doing at summer camp, you keep doing at summer camp. If you really want to lose weight, start the routines early – during staff training – and you’ll find it easy to keep to it. The rhythm and momentum of camp will help you. Procrastinate, and changing those habits will be difficult. So, don’t say to yourself, “Starting tomorrow, I’ll…” Start now!