Author: Margaret Dew
April 29th, 2018 • 7 min read
Last Updated: August 12th, 2018
Inspiration of the article:
If you're trying to lose weight and haven't been going at it enough, its time to think fast. Because, my friends, I am here to tell you that spring is ending in approximately 52 days from the date of this post. And guess what? Spring is the best time of the year to lose weight, so take advantage of the season while it is still a bliss because summer is on the horizon!
You've heard the expression timing is everything, right? That's never more true than when it comes to losing weight. And with spring underway and summer on the horizon, you're smack in the middle of the best time of the year to drop pounds.
It's hard and challenging (hello to you strawberry ice cream and backyard barbecues). But longer days and lighter skies pummel changes to your brain and body that can make losing weight—and keeping it off—easier than usual. Take advantage of these 6 seasonal changes that are working in your favor right now.
It's small but not insignificant: On average, people consume an 86 extra calories per day in the fall compared to the spring, according to research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And as spring turns into summer, that eat-less trend is likely to continue.
"Your appetite decreases in the summer because your body is trying to keep itself cool," explains Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, co-author of The Nutrition Twins' Veggie Cure and co-founder of the 21-Day Body Reboot program. "Your bodily functions, including digestion, generate heat and you have to work to cool down. When it's hot outside, eating less is an attempt to reduce or lessen the body's workload."
Some people assume that the more they sweat the more they'll burn calories, but that's not exactly right, so to speak. Sweat itself is just water (along with some minerals), so perspiring more doesn't automatically translate to losing fat. If you consistently stay active year-round as it gets hotter out, you will burn more calories, says Lakatos. Again, it comes down to temperature regulation. "Your body has to work harder when it's hot, so it burns more calories in order to keep you cool," she says.
Related: 12 Steps to Manage Your Weight
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There's no one pushing eggnog or double mocha hot chocolate this time of year. Just as the food gets lighter in the spring and summer, so do the drinks, and thanks to warmer temps, you're probably craving more hydration now than when it's cold out. If you're aiming to slim down, try making iced green tea your beverage of choice.
"The compound in green tea, EGCG, has been associated with increased fat burning, appetite control, and weight loss," says Lakatos. Just remember to hold the sugar; a little fresh mint is a nice add-in if you're craving something extra. Smoothies can also be smart choices, provided they don't contain an entire day's worth of calories.
According to Mariana Convery, your "body has to use much more energy/calories in colder weather than it does in warm weather to keep you warm, therefore, using up a lot more calories in the warmer months". If you were to decide on a weight loss program or exercise schedule for your daily routines, you wouldn't have to focus as much on exercise to help shed pounds because the weather is naturally doing it for you as opposed to the warmer weather.
"Just look at hibernating animals, they use their stored fat during the winter months to take them into the spring.", says Mariana. So if you are trying to lose weight fast without having to exercise during your diet plan, keep in mind that your body is burning off extra calories naturally during the colder weather.
Does your frame of mind become enlightened when it's sunnier outside? For many people, there's a direct correlation between mood and weather. In the most extreme cases, the dark, gloomy days of the winter can trigger a type of temporary depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). People with SAD might crave extra carbs and end up gaining weight.
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Even if you don't have SAD, being in better spirits in warm weather means you probably don't have crazy cravings for the heavy, fatty foods you crave hard in the winter, says Lakatos. (There's a reason they call them comfort foods!) Plus, when you're feeling positive, you might be more likely to talk yourself into a gym session—or talk yourself out of gorging on toppings during a fro-yo run.
Related: 10 Ways Your Mind Makes You Fat
More research is needed, but there appears to be a connection between lack of vitamin D, insulin resistance, and obesity. In other words, people who are obese are more likely than their thinner peers to have low levels of vitamin D. And some studies, such as one from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, have shown that certain people lose weight when they add a vitamin D supplement to their routine, though this doesn't seem true for everyone.
While you may or may not need a supplement for a variety of reasons (check with your doctor), it's pretty easy to get more D this time of year: Your body naturally produces it when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
Fall festivities often go hand-in-hand with roasts, creamy soups, and cheesy casseroles. Spring and summer gatherings, however, are more apt to feature cold salads, shrimp and chicken skewers, and lots of stone fruit, berries, and watermelon. Of course, it's still possible to overdo it on the cheeseburgers and ice cream. But with so many lighter choices available, it becomes much easier to pick healthy foods, says Lakatos.
Along the same lines, people tend to want more plant-based foods and less meat in warm weather, says Lakatos. "Pulses—which include chick peas, lentils, dried peas, and beans—are great salad toppings. They add protein and fiber, which makes the dish more satiating." Interestingly, research has shown that people who add pulses to their diet (3/4 cup per day) lose weight even when they don't restrict their calorie intake.
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