Self & Health
Losing weight for the summer: to do or not to do?
Article by Maria Kolotourou, BSc (Hons), MSc, RD www.dietforall.co.uk
It’s summer! At this time of the year, many people are trying to get in shape. And I have to admit success rates are much higher now than during winter. Let’s see why.
The number one reason is straightforward: you are more motivated. You are in a better mood, and you have a foreseeable objective for losing weight. Working on your motivation should be your top priority if you are serious about losing weight. No diet plan can help you to achieve your goals if you don’t have your very own reasons for making this happen.
But there are other reasons too.
When it’s hot, your appetite is suppressed, and you have fewer cravings. Indeed, the average calorie intake during summer is often lower compared to winter. This may be due to slower digestion of food (that keeps you feeling fuller for longer), but also due to lower energy density (fewer calories per gram of food) and higher water consumption.
Also, in summertime days are longer, the weather is better, and you have more opportunities to be active compared to winter when you spend most of the day indoors. Being out also gives you fewer opportunities to succumb to comfort food and graze due to boredom.
The summer “traps”
Despite the above, there are some “traps” when it comes to losing weight in the summer:
Eating out & drinks: when the weather is beautiful, it’s so tempting to go out with your friends. Of course, your weight loss effort should not prevent you from being social. You need to reconsider your behaviour: choose foods that you enjoy, eat slowly and stop when you are full. Try not to nibble, instead serve everything on your plate. This way, your brain gets a better sense of the food volume you consume, which makes the meal more satiating. Focusing on the meal event, rather than the food itself is also very helpful: after all, you are doing this to spend quality time with your friends and enjoy your meal mindfully, not to feel deprived or go wild on food.
Ice cream: can you be on a weight loss diet plan and eat ice cream? Of course, you can! And the good news is that it’s better to choose the ice cream you love and have it once or twice a week, than try to compromise with something you don’t particularly enjoy. When people try to lose weight, they often give up ice cream altogether or choose low-fat versions, sorbet or frozen yogurt just because they think these are “healthier” options. But what about pleasure? It’s equally important to satisfy yourself, and if you do it wisely, you can have your favourite ice cream while you are losing weight.
The bottom line
So, if you need to lose weight for the summer, give it a go! It looks like the odds are on your side. Just don’t try any quick fix or fad diet. Successful weight loss is achieved only through long term behaviour change. And remember: small changes can make a big difference. Happy summer!