Why People Gain Weight During The Summer
Many of us spend months and months dieting to get ready for Summer.
You follow a strict meal plan.
You cut calories down.
You work out every day … sometimes multiple times per day.
All done to look your best when the warmer weather arrives.
You go into summer very happy with how you look, only to come out of it having gained almost all the weight back … if not more.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could avoid this vicious cycle?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get summer ready and hold onto your results long after the summer months have passed?
Well … you can!
It all starts with your metabolism and what you do to fuel it leading up to those summer months and beyond.
Let’s be honest … the overwhelming majority of us would like to lose body fat before pool season is in full swing.
Most of us also know that to do that we need to be burning more calories than we are taking in.
This creates what we call a caloric deficit.
We do that by monitoring what we eat and by exercising. Simple as that.
What we fail to realize when dieting for summer or dieting for any purpose … is what this does to our metabolism long term.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is a collection of all the processes that occur within the human body to keep us alive.
It is influenced by the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe.
The human body takes our food, water, and air ... and converts it into energy to fuel our metabolism.
You may have heard the term “metabolic rate” before. This is referring to the amount of energy you need to fuel your metabolism at rest. It is the smallest amount of energy you need to stay alive.
Everyone will have different metabolic rates … all influenced by many different factors.
What Happens to Metabolism When Dieting?
Many of us do not understand what happens to the metabolism when we diet.
It does not speed up ... In fact, it is the complete opposite.
The less calories we give ourselves, the slower our metabolism will go.
Our metabolism is fueled by energy and calories are a measurement of energy.
Less energy (calories) = slower metabolism.
Our metabolism is very efficient at adapting.
If it is not getting the energy it needs to be fueled properly, it adapts.
In this case, that adaptation is to move slower and slower … to match your energy (calorie) intake.
Thus, cutting calories too low for too long becomes an issue.
Why You Gain During the Summer
You start your fat loss phase two … three… even four months prior to Summer.
You continue to adjust nutrition. Pulling more and more food, lowering calories down.
Calories need to be down to lose weight, no question about it.
But remember … the longer you diet, the slower your metabolism will go.
Then you get to summer, start eating more ... and the weight starts piling on.
Your body tends to soak those extra calories up like a sponge because it was under-fed for so long!
It soaks up the energy because it thinks you are going to take it all away again ... because that’s what you were doing in the months leading up to this time.
It is much too drastic of a change for the human body to handle. Remember … The body does not like drastic changes.
So, it is important to take what is known as “diet breaks” during your fat loss cycle.
These are periods of time where you increase calories during a diet.
This keeps your body “guessing” and prevents the metabolism from adjusting to what you are doing.
This allows you to continue progress but prevent your metabolism from slowing down.
This will also come into play when you hit your goal and start enjoying summer.
Because you took time away from a strict diet at certain points during your fat loss phase …
Your body will be much more capable of handling the extra calories you’ll be taking in …
Helping prevent that dreaded summertime weight gain.
Also … you should never diet and exercise for months on end just to stop during the summer.
Should you continue to be incredibly strict? No, absolutely not!
You should, however, keep active and not overdo your calorie intake.
This will make sure you stay in good shape and even continue to make progress instead of erase it.
The Best Way to Avoid Summer Weight Gain
Along with diet breaks and making sure you aren’t always eating too little calories …
you’ll want to focus on lifestyle changes!
This will prevent any drastic changes to your body long-term … not just during the summer.
If you are always yo-yoing back and forth with diets, you’ll always find yourself losing weight, then gaining it right back.
The best way to prevent this is making lifestyle changes …
Rather than following strict diets that are lower in calories.
Creating healthy habits that are part of your everyday life … not just when “summer is coming.”
This will keep you at your best physically and mentally, no matter what time of year it is!
There is no harm with turning it up a notch for summer, a wedding, a photoshoot, etc.…
But if all you do is fall back into those bad habits once you reach your goal … you’ll always be fighting a losing battle and your metabolism will never function the way you’d like.
You can make small adjustments that go a long way when you already have built those healthy habits. This will eliminate anything drastic and still allow you to make positive changes!
Most of us would love to lose a little body fat for summer and have also made strict changes to our diet … only to fall back into our bad habits soon after.
The human metabolism does not enjoy the strict dieting that many of us put it through.
In fact, it is for this very reason that many lose the weight they want only to gain it back … even more weight than before.
The body does this as a defense response …
Gaining weight back quickly because it thinks you are going to put it through a strict diet yet again.
This is yo-yo dieting at its finest.
If you choose to start a diet for summer or any event … make sure you are not always finding yourself under-eating.
Take “diet breaks” to keep your body guessing.
This will help your metabolism from getting adjusted to that low calorie eating.
The best plan of action is to adopt healthy lifestyle changes! That will keep you from ever needing to make any drastic adjustments. You can stay in great shape year round and still enjoy yourself!
If you need any help developing a lifestyle plan to help you get through the rest of summer … reach out to any of our Sport Nutrition Specialists!
We can get you set up on the perfect plan that will have you looking your best all year long!