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Why Do I Lose Weight in the Summer?
We all know the formula…calories in, calories out. No matter how many fad diets or magic pills or super specific exercise plans pop up next, the one thing we know for certain is that it’s still all about the consumption and the burn.
In order to gain a pound, you have to consume about 3500 calories.
Therefore, it stands to reason that you have to burn about 3500 calories to lose a pound, right?
But losing weight is much trickier than gaining. In order to lose weight, we can do it in a number of ways.
We can eat less, which means we will consume less calories and our bodies will then therefore not have to burn as much.
We can also move/exercise our bodies more, which means we will burn more calories and it won’t matter as much how many we consume, as long as we keep moving, we are burning them.
This means that there are a number of variables summer brings that allows us to burn calories – and therefore lose weight – that are not present during other times of the year.
Are you losing weight this summer? Let’s take a look at why.
1. You Are More Motivated to Focus on Weight Loss
Summer is the season of fun, fruity drinks, and festivities with family and friends. It’s also a season when we spend less time inside and way more time outdoors.
When the flip-flops come out, so do the shorts and tank tops, which means we are showing more skin and hiding less. For many of us, less clothing and more skin is motivation enough to kick our weight loss goals into high gear.
Over the last few years, multiple studies have shown that we make better subconscious choices around our diet and exercise during the months when we are wearing less clothing. There is a direct correlation between seeing more of our bodies uncovered and what we choose to put into our mouths.
Think about it this way…have you ever noticed that when you have on gym clothing or a tight sundress you take a slight pause before you grab a handful of chips?
On the other hand, when you are wearing baggy sweatpants and an oversized sweater, certain foods just seem to find their way into your mouth more easily.
Summer motivates us to focus on weight loss because it’s all around us. Whether we are out on a trail, at the beach, lounging poolside, or spending the day at an amusement park, we see skin everywhere. And sometimes that is enough to make us think twice about what we are going to eat next.
2. You Eat Healthier Foods
Let’s face it – summer eating is equated to healthier eating.
Sure, we all will still indulge in our fair share of ice cream cones and grilled hot dogs. But for the most part, summer is a season where healthier eating is easy and accessible.
From farmer's markets to fresh fruit stands, the months of June, July and August allow us a plethora of fresh vegetables and fruits to enjoy.
We also tend to cook and eat outside more, which means plenty of lean proteins on the grill and foods that can be served with little prep and even less mess, like salads, grilled veggies, and fresh sandwiches that can be eaten with no utensils.
We also seem to not reach for comfort foods as much in the summer. The things that are associated with sweater weather like cheesy casseroles, fried foods, and dishes with heavy sauces just aren’t as appealing when it’s hot outside, or you’re trying to balance a paper plate on your lap and hold a plastic cup in your hand.
Our bodies tend to turn toward healthy fare when it’s warm outside and this is good news for those of us who would like our favorite shorts to be just a little less snug while we are playing corn hole in the backyard on a hot June day.
3. You Are Outside More
Speaking of corn hole…another big reason why bigger weight loss is possible during the summer is the simple fact that we tend to spend a significantly longer time outdoors when it’s summer, which means we are away from our couch and our kitchen.
Even people who claim they're not the “outdoorsy” type agree that – when the sun is up and out – they are too.
It’s hard to not be outside in the summer. Whether you are on vacation at a beach, on a camping trip, or enjoying a day at Disney, summer activities are all centered around the great outdoors.
And, when you are outside, a few different things happen that cause weight loss to happen as well.
First, you are away from easy access to food. When you are pushing a stroller through the zoo, or pulling a wagon laden with picnic supplies, it’s much harder to randomly snack. You are active and busy and food is not as accessible, nor does it sound as appealing.
People who are active tend to eat less. And even the most inactive of us still find ourselves engaged in more physical activities once the weather warms up.
Another reason why being outside causes more weight loss is because being outdoors just tends to lead toward more activity. Sure, sitting on the beach or in a pool chair all day doesn’t exactly equate to burning calories. But, you will make up for that when you run into the waves, or spend an hour shoveling sand for a sand castle, or make the tenth trip to the car to fetch sunscreen or someone’s hat.
Even outdoor activities that tend to allow you to be slightly sedentary are still going to burn more calories than a day in front of the computer or a football game. Even small bursts of activity will add up to more weight loss, and even weight loss you didn’t necessarily plan for.
Sometimes It’s Just Too Hot To Eat
Let’s face it…when the thermometer starts climbing into those red zones, the idea of food just starts to sound less appealing.
When our bodies are hot, there is a physiological change that happens to our digestive system.
As the temperature outside rises, so does our internal one. In order to keep cool, our bodies try and compensate by slowing down or even turning off certain body functions that require a significant amount of energy, like our digestive systems. Therefore, in order to generate less heat, our digestive system doesn’t send the signals as often to our brains that we are hungry and so our appetites tend to be more suppressed.
So next time you hear someone say, “It’s too hot to eat,” they may actually be correct!
When it’s hot outside, we also tend to drink more water because we are sweating out our extra stores of it. Even if you aren’t engaged in a physical activity that makes your heart rate increase, you still have to drink more water in the summer months to keep your hydration level the same as it is in the cooler seasons.
Drinking more water not only helps flush toxins and extra weight out of our systems it also fills us up and keeps us from feeling hungry. And drinking more water is not only good for our overall health but for our waistlines as well.