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Is It Harder to Lose Weight in the Summer?


Pros and Cons of Trying to Lose Weight in the Summer

If you are on a weight loss journey, the summer can prove to be a bump in the road on many levels. There are many facts that are stacked for and against individuals who are trying to lose weight. For one, temptations pile up in the summer. Research shows that “according to the studies out of University of Massachusetts Medical School and University of Georgia, our average caloric intake decreases about 200 calories per day in the summer compared to fall and winter.” Everywhere you look, there seems to be cookouts, ice cream, and alcohol galore, and our metabolisms are not picking up any of the extra slack.

In fact, according to registered dietician Sharon Palmer, your metabolism might slow down a bit when it does not need to produce heat. Another prominent professional named Debra Sheats who is an assistant professor in foods and nutrition at St. Catherine University has stated that because the environmental temperature is close to the body’s internal temperature, the metabolism slows down by about 10%.

On the other hand, there are also many factors that work in our favor for summer weight loss. In the summer, we tend to be in better spirits, participate in more summer sports, and participate in outdoor activities that keep us active. Therefore, although our metabolisms might be working against us in the summer, and we might be surrounded by more temptation, we are also surrounded by plenty of opportunities to lose weight. Plus, summer brings with it beach vacations and less clothing, so those who did not reach their weight loss goals over the winter might be extra motivated to do so.

What Is the Best Season for Losing Weight?

Although there are many ways that the summer heat can work in your favor, as it turns out, winter is actually the best season to lose weight. Studies have demonstrated that cold temperatures activate the body’s stores of brown fat. Brown fat, also called adipose tissue, is a special type of body fat that maintains body temperature in cold conditions. It contains more mitochondria than it does white fat. This is good because excessive amounts of white fat is not a positive thing and can lead to obesity. An excess amount of white fat around the midsection increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. Because of this process, your body uses more energy and calories in cold weather than it does in warm weather.

How to Use the Body’s Response to Cold Temperatures to Lose Weight

According to scientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, being mildly cold can increase the rate of energy burnt by between 3 and 30%. However, those who live in Louisiana have experienced that the coldest month is January, where the average highest temperature is between 54°F and 62°F. There are plenty of other places in the U.S. and around the world that do not experience cold temperatures, but that does not mean they have to miss out on the extra calorie burn.

Shivering encourages your body to contract your muscles and expend energy similar to the way exercising does. In fact, shivering for 10 to 15 minutes can burn as many calories as an hour of moderate exercise. There are two main hormones that are stimulated by cold, irisin and FGF21, that are released from shivering muscle and brown fat. It is important to note that some adults have more brown fat and lower glucose than others, which can affect the way the body responds to these processes.

Scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health monitored ten healthy adults as they exercised in a 65°F lab. The same individuals laid on a bed as the temperature fell to 53°F. The study emphasized the fact that shivering is just one of the three mechanisms the body implements to fight against the cold. One is known as vasoconstriction, which is the narrowing of blood vessels by small muscles in their walls. It helps minimize heat loss from the warm blood and preserves a normal “core” temperature.

The second response the body has is called nonshivering thermogenesis. Nonshivering thermogenesis was originally defined as a cold-induced increase in heat production that does not occur alongside actual muscle activity. It happens through metabolism in brown fat and in skeletal muscle, liver, brain, and white fat. Lastly, the body’s third response is actually shivering, and it is the body’s last resort. Most people do not enjoy the process of shivering, but it does contract the muscle fibers, which can produce enough heat to maintain the body’s core temperature. At this time, the muscles produce irisin, which turns white fat cells into brown ones.

The drop in temperature does not always have to be dramatic to stimulate these changes, and this process can be activated with even minimal temperature changes, even as low as a six-degree difference. This small change can go a long way in promoting weight loss within the body, so you do not need to be freezing cold to encourage your body’s weight loss process.

Get More Weight Loss Advice

At Soza Weight Loss, we would also be honored to encourage your body’s weight loss process in a way that is healthy for you and makes you feel more confident in your own skin. No matter what the season might be, our weight loss program can help you lose weight through targeted solutions that yield rapid, long-lasting results. Our methods focus on low-calorie but nutrient-dense meals combined with natural medical supplements that boost the metabolism.

If you are ready to fully understand the best ways to lose weight for your body, call Soza Weight Loss at (504) 475-9817 or contact us online.