A NuYou Summer!
Let’s be honest, during cold weather months you may have slacked off on your health a tiny bit. In fact, it’s probable. Statistically, people gain weight in winter. During the spring, we make these big plans to get the extra weight off, then months go by and we still haven’t done anything to achieve this. Now flash forward to summer, we are still overweight. Our shorts and tanks don’t fit, we are too afraid to try on our swimsuit and we are hiding in oversized and probably way too warm of clothing for the weather. However, as miserable as we are, we are not always willing to do anything about because, well duh, it’s summer and in the Midwest, we don’t get a whole lot of it. Most of us make excuses as to why we are too busy, doing all the fun summer things we like to do, to make time for a weight loss program or exercise regime. We are camping, roasting marshmallows (who actually wants to give up S’mores?!), drinking beer, attending graduation parties & 4th of July celebrations. Soaking up the vitamin D because we know it won’t last long.
This year will be different! Did you know that summer can actually be one of the best times to lose weight? The following are a list of reasons why as well as tips to help ensure that this is the summer that you become a NuYOU!
You can get more vitamin D.
During the summer you are more likely getting more vitamin D from sun exposure than in the winter. For the short time you were outside during winter, you were most likely mummified in a coat, hat & gloves. Pervasive research has proved that low levels of vitamin D constrained fat breakdown and actually triggered more fat storage. You’ll be happy to know, getting more of the sun’s rays actually helps your body use calories for energy instead of converting them to adipose tissue.
Spending more time outdoors in nature will help you in multiple ways.
When it’s cold, we drive more, park as close to the building as possible and we are simply less interested in spending time outside. However, in the summer we are more inclined to walk or bike to our destination and be okay with parking farther away. Changes in light exposure and circadian rhythms have been determined to increase feel-good neurotransmitters, like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine as well as some hormones like melatonin that regulate energy levels, appetite and metabolism. Being outside in nature, especially when it is blooming with color, instead of dead and brown, has a positive effect on our mood. The days are longer, and the nights are warmer. You are probably more active, and for more of the day. Summer provides the opportunity for long hikes, bike rides, swimming, and playing sports among the flowers, grass, and river breeze. Remember that you can always have an additional Nutritional Supplement rather than not participating in these activities. Talk to a Wellness Coach to discuss these options, if you are unsure when or if you should add.
The foods we crave actually change.
Research shows that people have an organic drive to eat more calories in cold weather. Historically, there was less food available in winter so we do have the chance to pack it on, we do. When the cold weather has been with us for a while, the winter blues often sets in. Unfortunately, a side effect from this is an increased appetite and more cravings for sugar and comfort foods. During the summer, we crave in-season foods. Like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelon. All of these are a lot less calorically and contain more water than the denser, more comforting winter foods, like potatoes, winter squash, and root vegetables. Hot weather tends to make us eat lighter and quite a bit less.
Water, Water, Water.
In summer, water intake most likely increases due to thirst and those water-dense summer foods. Study after study links water intake with weight loss. Water helps your body burn more calories, regardless of your level of activity. Whenever you eat or drink, your body must work to metabolize whatever you ingest. Within a few minutes of drinking water, your metabolism can increase by 24 to 30%. That is not insignificant! Water can also be very satisfying. When used as a “filler” it helps combat cravings & emotional hunger, so we actually eat less too.
Summer herbs are great for weight loss.
Aromatic summer herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, and tarragon are natural diuretics and heavy-metal detoxifiers. They flush excess water and waste from the body. Additionally, studies indicate their strong, fresh smell can trigger satiety hormones. This will prompt you to want to eat less of an herb-heavy dish. Summer herbs offer a ton of flavor for very few calories. For example, ¼ cup of cilantro has about 1 calorie! The same is true for pesto’s, infused waters, teas, and herbal salad dressings. We suggest using a variety of different herbs and spices to compliment your weight loss and weight maintenance programs. And don’t forget, anything that starts with the letter C is actually thermogenic!
Try to always get a Good Night’s Sleep
Summer days are longer. With the increased light, we tend to stay up later and want to get more tasks accomplished. While increased activity is great, especially because the healthier you become, the more energy you’ll have and the easier it will be to accomplish different tasks, you also need to make sure that you are not forgoing any of your required sleep. In one study, ten overweight volunteers went on a diet while sleeping 8.5 hours a night for two weeks and just 5.5 hours per night for another couple of weeks. During the day, their diet and activity levels were exactly the same. In both cases, the average weight loss was 6.5 pounds. However, when the group slept less, they lost less actual fat, 1.3 pounds versus 3 pounds. They also felt far more hungry during that 2 week period. Make sure you get your ZZZ’s.
Plan Your Meals
We tend to do more and get invited to more in the summer months. Graduation parties, reunions, weddings, camping trips and vacations are keeping us busier. When you’re having fun or just plain busy, it’s easier to get distracted and miss out on a mid-morning snack or any other important meal. Ideally this is not something you would want to do consistently. By not eating all the appropriate foods you are required to eat daily, it can negatively impact your weight loss. Thinking through exactly what and when you’re going to eat your meals can make you more likely to stick to your weight loss and weight maintenance goals even when you are busy or attending an event.
At the end of a hot day, it’s easy to down a few frozen margaritas or chilled sangrias just to stay cool. But that’s packing on hundreds of unnecessary calories. If you want a cocktail, instead try tequila and seltzer on the rocks. When a drink doesn’t taste like a Slurpee from your childhood, you’re likely to sip more slowly and take in far fewer calories. If tequila isn’t your thing, look at the exchanges in the back of your NuYou Playbook. You can substitute fruit for wine, starch for a light beer, etc. There are quite a few lower calorie alcohol choices now than ever before, all you must do is a little research to figure out which one would be best for you. If you would like help figuring this out, please chat with one of the NuYou Wellness coaches. If you decide to drink alcohol, always try and drink more water. Before, during and the next 3 days after. Water will assist in flushing out any toxins from the alcohol and get your weight loss moving again.
So, get excited about losing weight in the summer! Use these strategies and stop by NuYou so that you can be your healthiest self this summer!