As summer approaches, many of us have high hopes of getting our beach bodies ready. Then reality hits, and before we know it we’re staring at barbecue bodies in the mirror instead.

The tasty treats that come along with barbecue season can throw a major wrench in our weight loss plans. Some evidence suggests that many people gain 1-2 pounds during the summer months—even more so if a person is already overweight.

So how do you avoid falling into that smoky, delicious trap? Here are some recommendations from the experts:

Tips to Maintain Weight During Barbeque Season

  • Enjoy It… Slowly

Many weight loss plans focus on avoiding specific foods or cutting down on portions. Unfortunately, these plans can be hard to stick to when we find ourselves at a special occasion like a family barbecue. We tend to overeat and chalk it up as a “cheat day.” The best way to combat this impulse is to take your time and really enjoy your meal. Chewing slowly and savoring the flavor will not only give you a more satisfying experience, but it slows down your consumption and allows you to digest your food easier—making you feel satisfied with less food.

  • Portion Control

Family barbecues are joyous occasions. Give yourself a break and enjoy a bite of dessert… within reason. As tempting as it is to overdo it on grandma’s apple pie, if you can limit yourself to an appropriate-sized slice then there’s no need to worry about gaining weight.

  • Keep it Simple

Barbecues tend to be a smorgasbord of delicious food. It can be overwhelming to keep track of what you can and can’t eat. So ditch the list and choose one achievable goal to set your mind to. For instance, maybe you just cut out soda for the summer or decide to spend an extra day at the gym each week. Not only will this make it easier for you to achieve your goal, but it’ll make you feel a sense of pride for having succeeded.

  • Just Keep Moving

Maintaining weight is all about balancing the calories you consume with those you burn. So the more you consume, the more you need to move to burn them off. If you’re in the office, try standing at your desk instead of sitting. If you’re with the family, take a walk together. Wherever you can find some bonus time to burn calories, take it!

  • Reflect and Repeat

Finding what works for you can take time. A setback is not the same thing as a failure. Keep records of your progress, reflect on your journey, and repeat what gave you the best results. After a while, you’ll find patterns and habits that work for you.

Barbecue season is supposed to be fun—so let it! Savor those moments with friends and family. Food is incorporated into the season for a reason. It creates moments of joy and laughter. Don’t sell yourself short of those memories, just try your best to stay balanced.