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How Long Summer Days Can Affect Weight Loss

By Elisa - Jenny Craig Reviewed by Monica Ropar, Nutritionist Expert Reviewed

Daylight saving time is in full effect, and the long stretches of daylight paired with a break from the normal routine can impact the best of intentions for losing weight, which can lead to weight gain during the summer. But fear not, with deliberate planning, you can keep on track with your weight loss goals during the warmer months.

Several seasonal factors can contribute to summer weight gain. When there are more daylight hours, your usual routine may be shifted or altered, which can impact your eating habits. For example, it can be easy to dismiss dinner until the sun has gone down. But there’s a good reason to be mindful of when you eat: late-night meals and snacks have been linked to weight gain.1  

 

What’s more, as our bodies are conditioned to wake and sleep with the sun, fewer nighttime hours may lead to less sleep. Sleep is a crucial part of your maintaining your body’s natural circadian rhythm, also known as your internal clock, and can have a significant effect on your health, mood, immune function, and even your weight.2

 

Here are a few ways to get more sleep during the summer and work with your natural rhythm:

child getting tucked into bedStick to a schedule.

If your kids are on summer vacation, it can be easy to stay up late watching movies or playing games, but having a schedule that consists of a similar bedtime and wake time each day may help your body ease into sleep — and out of it — more regularly.3

Be mindful of your caffeine intake.iced coffee on a table

If your go-to afternoon pick-me-up includes an iced coffee, you may want to reach for something else like an herbal iced tea. While caffeine affects everyone differently, having it later in the afternoon can make falling asleep at night more difficult.4 Most experts recommend avoiding caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon or evening.5

How does heat affect weight loss?

 

Even though the summer season is filled with outdoor activities, treats like ice cream and sugary drinks to cool down in the heat can add up. Luckily, it may be simpler than you think to replace those decadent summer foods with healthier options.

Summer treats to avoid and healthy swaps

Sugary drinksthree glass jars filled with fruit, ice and water

Lemonade, fruit juice, and soda, just to name a few, can be packed with empty calories. A healthier alternative is to infuse water with fruit like watermelon or cucumbers for a similar, satisfying thirst quencher.

Sweetened yogurt

Not all yogurt is created equal. Sweetened yogurt can contain upwards of 20 grams of sugar in one serving, which is almost an entire day’s worth of the recommended amount for women.6-7 Instead, reach for a Nonfat Plain Greek yogurt for an excellent source of protein and calcium.8 Add your own natural sweetness by throwing in some fresh fruit.

Fried foods

Fried chicken, French fries and the like are usually served everywhere you turn during summer street fairs. Instead, try a flavorful rub on lean meats such as chicken or pork, and toss them on the grill. 

Happy hour cocktails

Forgo the sugar-laden mixers and booze — not only can alcohol impair your judgment when it comes to making healthy food choices, but it can also pack on unwanted calories. Instead, opt for club soda with a lemon or lime.

person walking up stairs wearing orange and gray sneakersDecreased motivation to exercise in high heat

When it’s hot outside, it can be easier to lose the motivation to exercise. So if you know midday walks will feel unpleasant, try adjusting your routine. Walk earlier or later in the day to beat the heat and still reap the benefits! 

Tips for summer weight loss

 

With a little planning, you can stay on track! Here are a few other tips to keep up your healthy lifestyle this summer:

Get inventive with veggies

  • Sneaking more vegetables into your routine will not only help fill you up on fewer calories, but it’s also a great way to get more essential nutrients. Not sure how to creatively add more greens to your plate? Here’s a quick guide on how to incorporate veggies into any meal.

 

grilled meat and vegetable kebobs on serving platter

Become sugar savvy

  • Start by checking out nutrition labels to become aware of how much added sugar may be hidden in your food. Learn more about sneaky sugar-packed foods and how to cut down on them.

Be mindful when eating     

  • There are numerous benefits to eating mindfully. Slowing down and eating with intention may even reduce the amount of food you consume.9 Why? Because when you eat slower and savor your food, your stomach has the time to signal to your brain that it’s full, which can take up to 20 minutes.10

Are you ready to lose weight this summer?

If you want to learn how to use your body’s natural clock to improve your overall health, Jenny Craig can help. Book a free appointment with a weight loss consultant and begin making strides toward a healthier you!

 

Sources:

[1] https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/people-who-eat-and-sleep-late-may-gain-weight

[2] https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx

[3] http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/what-can-you-do/good-sleep-habits

[4] https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/caffeine-and-sleep

[5] http://www.sleepeducation.org/news/2013/08/01/sleep-and-caffeine

[6] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/26/yogurt-sugar-twinkie_n_5379590.html

[7] http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/the-growing-concern-of-overconsumption.html#.W2i-a2uweUk

[8] https://www.healthyeating.org/Milk-Dairy/Nutrients-in-Milk-Cheese-Yogurt/Yogurt-Nutrition

[9] http://time.com/5144169/eating-more-slowly-weight-loss/

[10] https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/11/09/we-found-out-if-it-really-takes-20-minutes-to-feel-full_a_21602736/

Elisa Hoffman

bio-photo-Elisa.jpg.ea6b8a205d9e2f742b035cb498a3b0bb.jpgElisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. A San Diego native and an endurance sports enthusiast, you can usually find her swimming, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Chico.

 

Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple.

 

 

Reviewed by Monica Ropar, Nutritionist

bio-photo-monica.png

Monica has over 15 years of experience with Jenny Craig, as an expert nutrition and program resource. She develops content, training, tools and strategies for the program to support clients throughout their weight loss journey, and offers inspiration, weight loss tips, lifestyle strategies and motivation. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Dietetics and Exercise, Fitness & Health from Purdue University and continues to stay current on weight management research, consumer trends and healthcare developments.

 

Favorite healthy snack: raw veggie sticks with homemade hummus
 

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This article is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals.

 

Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.

 

This article contains trusted sources. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.


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