Hard to believe but the days are already getting shorter and though it seems like we have a long time to go before fall and winter its not as far away as most people think.
With summer comes the inevitable parties, get-togethers and other fun adventures we all love to do.
And food, lots and lots of food.
Which leads to another inevitability for most people that comes with summer. What is it? Weight gain.
There is a common misconception that people tend to gain the most weight during the winter holiday season and to be fair it isn’t all that uncommon for people to put on a couple pounds but in my 30 plus years of experience more people gain weight during the summer months than any other time. A LOT MORE!
Why? Well, let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. The gyms and fitness studios are barren waste lands this time of year. Back when I worked at a local Y you could throw a million balls around the fitness center and not have to worry about hitting a person. Many people claim to be “working out” outside, but most of the time working out consists of lifting 12 ounces of their favorite adult beverage while sitting on the deck or laying in the pool. We know that we tend to be lax with our eating habits during the summer, too. Salads dripping with mayo, burgers, dogs and other meats from the barbeque, and corn on the cob lying in vast pools of butter all add up when it comes to calories.
I’ve found it’s not uncommon for folks to add 1,000 extra calories each summer day compared to what they eat during the rest of the year. And, let me tell you my friends, those extra calories add up quickly when you step on the scale. I’ve seen many people, who worked hard during winter and spring, gain ALL the weight back on — and more — during their summer “break.”
So What Can You Do?
We all want to enjoy the summer and there is no reason we can’t. It just means we have to stay focused on the most important thing, which is our health.
First off, have a plan for those weekend get-togethers. Make sure you eat something before you go so you aren’t starving and thus be tempted to overindulge.
Bring a healthy dish or make a healthier version of the summer time staples such as coleslaw or potato salad.
Give yourself permission to have that burger or dog but limit it to just one. That way you aren’t depriving yourself and still staying on track.
And, if you must have an adult beverage have one, and then switch to something else. Honestly if you define “fun” as getting drunk every weekend, well then you may have another problem.
As for exercising, there’s no reason you can’t find the time. No matter how busy your summer is, you have the time to get that workout in. With most people, it’s that their priorities change. I get it. Who wants to be inside a gym in the middle of July? To be honest, I loved it. It was nice and cool, and I had the place to myself most of the time, especially when the inevitable heat wave came.
If you truly don’t want to be in the gym during the summer, than make the commitment to get outside and do something. Go for a fast walk, go on a hike, do some laps in the pool, pick up your weights and take them outside.
Just Do Something
Sadly, I know for many this will fall on deaf ears. When September rolls around it’s common for people step on the scale and see they’ve gained 10, 20, even 30 pounds. Those same people who didn’t make their health a priority will suddenly panic and for many the self loathing will begin. It’s truly a vicious cycle and one that doesn’t need to have happen.
A few small changes and committing to working out throughout the summer will not only hold off those unwanted pounds, but help you stay on track not just for summer but for life.
And, a healthier life leads to being able to enjoy many more summers. Isn’t that worth it?
Dan Romand is c0-owner and operator of Full Circle Fitness-NY in both Colonie and Saratoga Springs, where he is also a certified personal trainer. You can commonly read his health and fitness column in TheSpot518 and TheSpot518.com.