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Have you felt the shift? Are you witnessing the change in your food cravings?
In January, we covered why the start of the year isn’t the best time for weight loss. Colder months just aren’t the best time to replace warm winter foods with cooling salads, it often works against your weight loss goals. Now with the change in seasons, the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer, we naturally shift what we eat; how long we sleep; and how active we are.
Summer Seasonal Food Shifts
The last week of May, as I flipped through recipes in my beloved cook books - I realized my cravings for hearty stews, warm curry dishes, and high carb meals with lots of brown rice were gone. Observing my body as I glanced through the pages, I could hear the clear ‘no’ to recipes I loved to make in the last 6-7 months. On the other hand my body was signaling a resonating ‘yes’ as photos and images of more cooling meals lit up my brain.
My mouth started watering just seeing the refreshing images of grapefruits, yellow and red bell peppers, avocados, cucumbers, Swiss chard, sweet peas, fennel and lemon-flavored chickpeas…in fact my mouth is watering as I write it right now.
Our bodies crave cooling foods in the summer months. Summer foods are often lower in calories and therefore trigger our bodies into losing unwanted belly fat that we naturally store in the winter time.
Try to include a healthy fat in your meal such as avocado, high quality olive oil or cook with coconut oil. This is vital for cell growth. It also increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (like Vitamin D), the production of important hormones, plus healthy fats boosts your energy and brain power!
Summer Foods for Feeling Lighter
Summer foods are light, bright and
airy. They naturally have more water and fiber so they keep you full longer. Also, since it’s so hot we naturally gravitate towards foods that are less filling and leave us satiated but not stuffed full. Here are six foods to help you feel lighter and provide other
health benefits as well.
1. Watermelon: Because 90 percent of a watermelon’s weight is water, it’s one of the best fruits to eat if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s a great source of an amino acid called arginine, which helps burn fat quickly. Snacking on watermelon during the summer months will help you stay full longer and less likely to snack on less desirable foods.
2. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes are an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and folate. They are also considered an appetite-suppressant “high-volume” food, which means they have high amounts of water, air and fiber.
3. Chilled soups: Soups like gazpacho or cucumber-dill that contain lots of chunky, heart healthy vegetables are a great summer food. Research shows that eating low-calorie soups before a meal can help cut back on food consumption. Results show that when participants in the study ate a first course of soup before a lunch entree, they reduced their total calorie intake at lunch (soup + entrée) by 20 percent, compared to when they did not eat soup.
4. Apples: An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it can also help you lose weight more quickly. The good news is that eating just one apple a day — with the skin on — gives the body and average of 4.4 grams of fiber, which is about one-fifth of our daily need. Apples are a rich source of a powerful fiber called pectin.
5. Avocados: A recent study by researchers at the Center for Nutrition Research at Illinois Institute of Technology states that the avocado fruit can help to significantly suppress hunger and increase meal satisfaction in overweight and obese adults. They make for a great energy-boosting breakfast with a few slices on a hearty toasted bread with some tomatoes and basil. When combined with eggs, avocados make for a protein-rich post workout snack as well.
6. Grilled Veggies: Best veggies for grilling include zucchini, squash and eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, onions and corn. Veggies are a great way to add vitamins, fiber and minerals to your diet and they are naturally low in fat and calories. Throw your favorite veggies on the grill with a lean protein (chicken or fish) and there you have it.
Additionally, I love using these two cookbooks. And no, you don’t have
to be vegan to enjoy these foods (I’m not). Sometimes I add grilled wild caught salmon or fresh US caught
grilled shrimp to the recipes.
Bump Up Your Summer Exercise – Move Your Body
With the warmer weather our body’s also crave to be outdoors more often. Some great summer activities include: Swimming, hiking in the mountains, walking in the park, or an early morning run in the neighborhood.
Make use of this extra energy and consider adjusting to a new summertime movement routine. Maybe take yoga from indoors to the park. Maybe move to an outdoor HIIT (high intensity interval training) sprinting up the short hills around your house followed by an easy jog back down. Maybe it’s a more swift walk up the mountain.
With all this extra physical activity you want to find balance to recover though. Stretching before bed time is a great idea. Easy walks on a Sunday morning or relaxing in the sunshine by the pool are great ways to counter balance high activity levels.
Adjust Sleep Routine to Mother Nature
During the summer we are inclined to stay up much later, matching the longer daylight hours. Mother Nature intended for us to sleep from sunset to sunrise. In the summer the sun usually rises around 5AM and sets around 9PM…that’s still 8 hours of sleep.
I recommend that you protect your sleep and adjust to your new nighttime routine so you wake up bright and early. I love the crisp air and birds singing at 6AM. I open up all my windows to let fresh air in and enjoy the peace before the madness of the day gets started.
Need help adjusting your diet or creating a new routine that leads you to becoming the best version of yourself? We are here to help. We guide you into healthy practices that support your health and lifestyle goals. Our client Melissa of the Atlanta Hawks said “After a few sessions I truly understood the benefits of having a health coach for your overall health…I’d highly recommend it for other working professionals trying to be their best self in all aspects of their life.”
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