The summer can be the hardest or easiest season to lose weight, depending on how you look at it. The motivation to slim down increases with each layer of clothing that you shed as summer approaches. At the same time, you’re probably going out to eat and drink more than at any other time of year.
Let’s start with the obvious: it’s easier to be active in the summer. Walks, runs, hikes, sports, and swimming are all fun and relatively easy to access in the summer. That makes losing or maintaining your weight easier.
A less obvious benefit of the summer is the heat, which can dampen your appetite. The heat causes blood to move away from your digestive system and out into your limbs. This helps you cool down, because blood closer to the surface of the body can dispel heat and circulate back to the core of your body, cooling it down. This is similar to the way that oil cools the engine in your car.
More activity and less hunger can help you lose or maintain your weight, but things aren’t always that simple.
Confusingly, the heat can also sap your energy and encourage you to drink more calories. When in a hot environment, your will to move around can decrease. That’s because movement causes heat, and your body doesn’t like to overheat.
Think about the last time you were out on a hot day, or in your apartment without the air conditioning on. You probably felt pretty relaxed and maybe even sleepy.
On a hot day, it’s harder to burn as many calories as you do in the winter. Heat actually prevents your body from working as hard as it might if you were cool. That’s because you overheat faster, which makes you worse at exercise.
Drinking calories is another problem. Going out for drinks after work or over the weekends is a fun way to relax, and you can do so outdoors in the summer. Keep in mind that alcoholic drinks are very calorie-dense, which means that an extra few drinks in the summer can make up for eating less food.
You might also crave sugary drinks like Gatorade or lemonade to quench your thirst. These sugary drinks add even more calories.
If you’re frustrated at a lack of progress in the summer, consider the things we’ve discussed. While the summer seems like an easy time to lose weight, the opposite could be true. Pay attention to how the heat affects your body, and how your lifestyle changes in the summer. That could be the key to maintaining your progress.