Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off of summer...and that means time to dig out the swimsuits and shorts. If you've gained some winter weight, here are some tips to help you get back on track for this summer.

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off of summer...and that means time to dig out the swimsuits and shorts. If you've gained some winter weight, here are some tips to help you get back on track for this summer.

Weight Loss Basics

The very first step in weight loss is understanding the basic principal that you must burn more calories than you consume. To lose rate at a healthy rate you should aim to consume 500 calories fewer than your body is using each day. Generally women should not consume less than 1,200 calories per day, and men should not consume less than 1,500 calories per day.

Expert Tips to Reduce Calories

Plan ahead: Figure out what you will eat for each day 1-7 days in advance. Doing this will make you less likely to wait until you are hungry and consequently grab food from a restaurant with calorie packed food.

Cook your food: Typically, home cooked/prepared meals are not as calorie dense as restaurant food.

Eat smaller portions: Try using a smaller plate to reduce the room to load your plate up with unneeded calories. You may find you do not need a ton of calories to satisfy your hunger.

Eat more fiber: Eating foods high in fiber will make you feel fuller for longer. It also helps with intestinal health and function

Eat more veggies: Most vegetables are not calorie dense and can satisfy your appetite.

Track your calories:  Doing so makes you accountable and gives you a goal to work towards. MyFitnessPal is just one of many great web and phone app that makes tracking calories a breeze. Plus, it can help you determine how many calories you should be consuming!