If you think losing weight gets easier in the summer just because the heat kills your appetite and fresh fruits and vegetables are in season, you might want to think again. The reality about summer weight loss might just surprise you. The reasons are pretty straightforward, but the solution is all too simple.
I’M EATING LESS
The heat can be a great appetite suppressant, too. But with all the typical summer festivities—starting with Memorial Day parties, Fourth of July cookouts, spontaneous barbecues and cocktail parties all the way through Labor Day, there’s plenty to eat that’s not very bikini-body friendly: burgers and hot dogs on processed white flour buns, chips and dip, cookies, ice cream and of course, alcohol!
For those of us thinking, “I don’t eat the bun” or “I drink gluten-free hard cider,” keep in mind that even the burger without the bun has about 250 calories, so a couple of those and you’re at a quarter of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for total calories. And that gluten-free cider you’re drinking can have more than 200 calories and 24 grams of sugar. With just two bun-less burgers and a couple of drinks we’re at almost a whopping 1,000 calories. (Wow, and I’m not even remotely full yet!)
I’M SWEATING MORE!
We often equate summer with sweating, and sweating with losing weight when, in fact, sweating is simply our body’s method of lowering our temperature. We may lose an ounce or two of water weight from this basic function, but this weight is replaced the moment we take a drink.
We also may feel like moving less during the summer months because we’re on vacation—relaxing—or because it’s simply too hot! Summer can also make a mess of daily routines, and separate research reviews by the Centers for Disease Control and Active Living Research found that unstructured schedules and temperature can especially affect kids’ activity levels.
TAKE IT OFF—AND KEEP IT OFF
So what can you do to prevent summer weight gain? Here are four simple tips.
- Set a summer-specific goal. This could be fitting in a skimpy bathing suit or completing your first obstacle course race. Another great goal is to move more—and be comfortable in your body. Feeling stronger is a great confidence booster. Whatever the goal, set it and train for it!
2. Eat at home before going to a cookout or event. This easy step will stave off the temptations of chips and sweets. Hopefully, the food you have at home will not only be lower in calories, it will also be more nutritious.
3. Drink lots of water! It’s all too easy to get dehydrated in summer months especially as we sweat more. This dehydration can lead to vitamin deficiencies, hyponatremia (electrolyte imbalance), fatigue and even heat stroke. So avoid stuff that adds calories and dehydrates you even further (like excess alcohol).
4. Keep moving. Don’t stop moving because the kids are home from school. Get them moving with you, on the trail or beach or in the pool, and burn as many of those calories from last weekend’s cookout as possible!
Joshua Buchbinder, M.S., CPT is the Fitness Manager for 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport in Aurora, CO. He has been coaching and training for nearly two decades.