You’ve heard the expression timing is everything, right? That’s never truer 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.
Longer days and sunnier skies prompt changes to your brain and body that can make losing weight easier than usual.
Take advantage of these six seasonal changes that are working in your favor right now.
1. You’re less hungry as temps heat up
It’s small but not insignificant: On average, people consume 86 extra calories per day in the fall compared to the spring, according to research. 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-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.”
2. You burn more calories in warmer weather
If you stay active year-round and don’t scale back on intensity 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.
3. Your mood is brighter
Does your disposition get sunnier when it’s sunnier outside? 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. 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.
4. The 'sunshine vitamin' might help
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 it’s pretty easy to get more D this time of year: Your body naturally produces it when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
5. It’s easier to find — and enjoy — healthier food
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.
6. You can sip your way to weight loss
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.
“A 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.
(Health delivers relevant information in clear, jargon-free language that puts health into context in peoples’ lives. Online at www.health.com.)
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