It appears that Mother Nature isn’t giving the D.C. area much of a break this summer. If the record-high temperatures haven’t convinced you, I’m sure that the 80 mph winds from last Friday’s storm – as well as the subsequent days-long power outages – have. In the midst of a heat wave that makes even the idea of going to the pool unappealing, it can be hard to see the silver lining of summer. I’m here to tell you that there is at least one thing you can take advantage of, however. In my long, long experience with dieting and weight loss, one thing has become clear to me: It is easier to lose weight in the summer.
I don’t know if it has to do with the effect that the blistering heat has on our appetites (it certainly curbs mine!) or our slightly more vain desires that stem from the knowledge that we will be spending three months in shorts, but something shifts in my ability to lose weight and/or tone up in the summer.
In general, we spend more time being active. We are spending time outside and tend to walk more (even if it’s just up and down the hallways of Tysons Corner). Though you may fight against being unmotivated to actually work out in the summertime heat, at least you’re still moving. And since weight loss is, in my opinion, more about what you eat than what you do, a proclivity for skipping workouts is not as detrimental as you might think!
Now, I am not saying that just because it’s summer, you don’t have to work at weight loss. All of us who are trying to shape up still need to be conscious of what we consume and make sure we are staying active. I am just encouraging us to make the most of the opportunities that summer naturally provides in order to do so.
Take advantage of the light, fresh flavors that you will crave. For me, the idea of turning on my oven and laboring over a hot stove on a hot day is less than desirable. I crave cool, light, fresh food when it’s hot out! Sure, I will probably partake in more than one barbecue session before Labor Day hits, but for the most part, it’s fruit, vegetables, salads, and no-cook dishes that I will be consuming. Since these kinds of dishes tend to be lighter in calories, in addition to being higher in nutrition, you will be setting yourself up for diet success simply by listening to your body’s cravings.
You might consider spending a little time surfing the Internet for some low- or no-cook recipes. In light of the power outage that left me without a stove or microwave for several days, I am certainly glad to have already had a few of these in my pocket. Chilled soups, pasta salads loaded with veggies, and tasting plates are great examples of delicious dishes that will satisfy that craving for lighter fare without making you thoroughly sick of salad.
Experiment, enjoy, and stay cool!
Gretchen Powell is a fitness and healthy living blogger in Falls Church. She is not a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or medical doctor, and a medical professional should be consulted before undertaking dramatic diet changes. For more, visit honeyishrunkthegretchen.com.