It's Summer! Why Am I Gaining Weight?
by Helene Haber
If you are like most of us, your philosophy goes something like this "Oh I don't need to worry about the pounds I've put on during those long, cold sessions with my winter refrigerator. I'll lose the weight during the summer when my appetite wanes and I'm really active."
Well it's summer and not only have you not taken off that extra weight, you have horrors of horrors managed to gain weight during the summer.
How is this even possible?
Although summer is the season of more outdoor activities, it is also the season of social activities such as barbeques, picnics, weddings and company outings.
Without even realizing it, we manage to increase our calorie intake by sipping pina coladas and frozen margarita's. We also increase our consumption of summer time foods that are notorious for their high calories and low nutrients. We're eating more chips, hot dogs, macaroni and potato salads and of course, ice cream by the bowl to cool us down.
Even when we eat a light summer salad, we our fooled by the "fallacy of a salad" which often contains crotons, fried Chinese noodles, full-fat cheese and salad dressings that can add hundreds of calories to the once virtuous salad.
OK so what can you do to make your summer a more healthful one? The first thing I'd tell you is to be nice to yourself. I realize you were expecting some dietary wisdom, but truly the best thing you can do is not to make yourself feel worse because you had expectations of summer weight loss that did not come to pass.
You enjoyed the summer and now you will continue to celebrate the summer with a different approach and here are five strategies to try:
Map out your meals.
If you know you're going to a barbeque, plan for it. Increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein you eat during the day so you don't arrive famished. If you love garlic bread on the grill and that strawberry-rhubarb pie, have a slice and enjoy. The important thing is to enjoy what you love and not to waste calories on food because it's in front of you.
Do not eat directly from the party bowl. Just as it is not a good strategy to eat from a bag of tortilla chips or pretzels at home, the same is true when you are at a party, eating from a big bowl and chatting. You simply have no idea how much you have eaten. Place a handful of nosh into your napkin if small plates are not around and then grab water, unsweetened iced tea or a diet soda.
Drink more water throughout the day.
I know this is not news to you, but you must do what works best for you to increase your water consumption: whether this means having a 64-ounce bottle at your desk or eight 8-ounce bottles in the refrigerator. Experiment and see what works for you. We often eat when we need to drink. We often drink calorie dense drinks such as sodas, fruit drinks and shakes when we really need water.
More sweating does not mean more calories burned. When it's hot and humid, we think the pounds are rolling off of us because we're dripping. We are sweating because it's hot and humid. We tend to overestimate the amount of calories we've burned.
Go for an evening walk.
The summer is so special, because it gives us all those extra hours of light. Take advantage of the smells and the sounds of summer by walking after dinner, not as a power walk, but as a walk of gratitude for the good life of summer. You get the added benefit of staying out of the kitchen and increasing the digestion of what was eaten before your walk.
Be kind to yourself and use these next weeks as a way for you to be summer healthy and fit. Enjoy the sunshine and savor theses summer days!
Helene Haber is a respected expert and coach in the weight loss field. She can be reached via email for more information or a free consultation at TopCatHelene@aol.com.