Top 10 list of summer weight sabotages

Photo courtesy of Flickr-joz007

Photo courtesy of Flickr-joz007

Summertime and the livin’ is easy. You’re not alone if you think that  healthy eating should be a breeze at this time of year. After all, there’s great local produce which goes hand in hand with light eating.

Well guess again.

It’s the season when it’s packing on the pounds comes easy as pie. Practicing girth control can indeed be a tough task over the summer.
Over the next two posts, I’ll give you my top 10 list of summer weight sabotages – in no particular order.

•    Air conditioning
As the days shorten in the autumn, it’s the increasing darkness that signals animals to ready for hibernation. And we, like bears, even when in a warm, toasty environment on a gray winter’s day, don’t look for light meals. Instead hearty winter dishes appeal to help us build up some fat for hibernation. And so, people in northern climates are more likely to pack on a few pounds in the winter.

Then comes summer and its heat. While winter appetites are regulated by daylight, summer’s are determined by temperatures. Being out in the heat on a scorching day tends to deaden one’s appetite. So before the widespread use of air conditioning, light selections on hot days were the norm. Ovens were kept off and heavy, fatty fare was not desired. And thus the winter weight was shed.

Now many live in air conditioned homes, commute in air conditioned vehicles and work in cool settings.

So much for the seasonal cycle of weight.

Instead the winter weight just accumulates year after year.

When possible, enjoy the summer temperatures but be sure to keep hydrated at the same time. When eating out, consider sitting on a patio rather than in a cool restaurant.  You’ll be less likely to order a calorie laden special of the day like lasagna while outdoors but while dining inside a cool eatery, it might be appealing.

•    Summer holidays
Add in vacations and summertime can turn into a longer festive season than the holiday period during December. Try to build in some physical activity in your vacation pursuits to balance out the decadent delights.

•    Salads
A bowl of veggies tossed with a little dressing used to be a light dish. These days, you can find numerous gargantuan offerings that have been drowned in a sea of oil. Instead, enjoy the terrific assortment of greens now available but be a little less generous with the dressing by asking for the salad to be dressed lightly or  by having it on the side.

You can lighten up further by skipping crunchy toppings like fried noodles or tortilla chips. And check out the protein options. Are they “crispy” which is synonymous with fried or is the bowl loaded with high fat cheeses and processed meats?

    Coolers and cocktails
Mixed drinks and bottled coolers can pack a mighty caloric wallop. A couple of servings can set you back about 500 calories. Alternatively the same amount of alcohol combined with soda water or a diet mixer is less than half the total.

•    BBQs
Hamburgers, hot dogs and big hunks of meat are traditional barbecue offerings potentially providing an excess of fat and calories. And these days, because of the ease of firing up a gas grill, barbecues can often be a daily occurrence. Up the nutritional quotient by including plenty of grilled vegetables or barbecuing some fish on a regular basis.

Coming up: part 2 of my top 10 list of summer weight sabotages

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Do you usually have difficulty with waist management during the summer? Please share in the comment section below.

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Categories: Tips and Tricks

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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5 Comments on “Top 10 list of summer weight sabotages”

  1. Avril Fernley
    July 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Another great article, Rosie. I’ll look forward to the 2nd half.

    My dad didn’t like air conditioning and he had two weights all his adult life – 165 lb.in the winter and 155 lb. in the summer. Coincidence? I don’t think so. He also worked outside in his garden all spring and summer – evenings and weekends.

  2. July 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Thanks for your feedback, Avril. The air conditioning issue is very interesting isn’t? Our environment plays a bigger role in our health than we realize. It seems that your father was a textbook case!

    • Avril Fernley
      July 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

      In many ways, Rosie, in many ways. He spent a good part of WW2 in India with the British forces and he learned to drink tea to beat the heat, a habit he brought to Canada when he emigrated here in 1948. He swore that the more he sweat, the cooler he felt. I USED to think he was crazy; turns out he was ahead of his time.

  3. July 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Yes, Avril! It certainly sounds like your father was ahead of his time. In India, they also add spicy food to the mix to make you sweat!

  4. Avril Fernley
    July 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    I think spicy foods is where he drew the line! 😉

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