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Conquer Your Weight

Episode #78: Why Summer Is a Great Time to Lose Weight

Show Notes

June 19, 2024

Summertime is here, and in this week's episode, we're talking about why summer is the perfect time to lose weight! With warm weather inspiring us to go outdoors and fresh produce that is so delicious to eat, there is no better time to get started with your weight loss journey!

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Dr. Sarah Stombaugh: This is Dr. Sarah Stombaugh and you are listening to the Conquer Your Weight podcast. Announcer: Welcome to the Conquer Your Weight podcast, where you will learn to understand your mind and body so you can achieve long-term weight loss. Here's your host, obesity medicine physician and life coach, Dr. Sarah Stombaugh. Dr. Sarah Stombaugh: Hello everyone, and welcome to today's episode. We are talking about a great topic, which is why it's great to lose weight during the summertime. It's really interesting, a lot of people actually do not want to lose weight during the summer, or at least they don't want it to be their top priority. They're thinking about the kids are out of school, they're going on vacation, they've got cookouts, they're thinking about all of the fun that they're going to have this summer, and they don't want to ruin their fun by thinking about weight loss. So I want to break some myths today. Talk a little bit about what might make it challenging to lose weight during the summer, but more importantly, what might make it really the best time that you can lose weight? And if as you're listening to today's episode, you're thinking, gosh, yeah, this really does sound great. I would be interested in working towards my weight loss goals. I would love to support you in that. We are enrolling new patients in our program. I'm really excited to announce that I've brought a health coach onto my program, and so patients who enroll with the clinic are getting the support of not just me, but also for my health coach. And it's a great way to make sure that you're really staying in line with your goals, understanding what your goals are, how you can set those in order to best support your weight loss goals. So let's talk a little bit about why it's great to lose weight during the summer. So I don't know about you, but there's something just really magic about summer. It's warm outside, the sun is shining, it's bright. I feel like I'm able to wake up earlier in the day with the sun coming in my window and I'm just really excited. Life looks a little bit different, sometimes, a little bit more crazy, but I want to talk about why we can utilize that in order to support our weight loss goals. So let's talk a little bit about activity, because a lot of times when I'm talking to patients in the dead of winter, they're like, oh my gosh, Dr. Stombaugh, I have to bundle up. Maybe it's snowy or icy. I'm worried about slipping and falling if I'm out for a walk. And so it can be really challenging to stay more active during the wintertime. Well, the summertime is the perfect time to stay active. We've got warm weather, we've got more hours of daylight, so the sun is rising earlier. You've got more morning hours available to you. The sun is setting later, so you've maybe got some evening hours available to you. And I feel like a lot of us feel that extra energy. And so I want you to think about ways that you can really lean into that. Are there activities that are only available during the summer? Maybe things like swimming, for example, or things that may be available year round but you really enjoy doing things that you want to make time for and that you have a little bit more availability in your schedule. Things like taking a walk, taking a hike, going for a bike ride. If you've got children or other family members, is this something that you want to incorporate them into as well? Thinking about not just doing these activities in your own, but how do you take exercise and make it into a fun activity to do with your partner, to do with your family, to do with your friends in a way that you can really be active and really enjoy that time as well? So the ways that you can plans social engagements where you're going for a hike or a walk. And a lot of times, I don't know about you, but if I am engaged in a wonderful conversation, I'm not even thinking about the fact that we're out for a walk or out for a hike. I'm just really enjoying the time with the other person. So it's a nice way to kind of sneak in that exercise in a way that's really going to support your health goals. Now, certainly as we are exercising, one of the things that we have to be really cognizant of, honestly anytime, but especially during the summer is hydration. A lot of times there are some patients who tell me that they love drinking and other people who are like, oh my gosh, I don't drink any water throughout the day. So in the summertime, especially when we're outdoors, especially when we're sweating, we really want to be thinking about that hydration piece for people who are actively losing weight. There's definitely a diuretic component that comes with it where our muscle glycogen stores are down. That's our energy stores within our muscle. Our body is losing fat, and our body tends to not hold onto fluids as well. We tend to urinate a little bit more. And so we think about hydration, meaning water, but the reality is it's not just are you consuming the water? Is that water or other fluid sticking with you? And in order for fluid to stick with us, we need to make sure that we have electrolytes paired with that. A lot of times people are thinking about drinks like Gatorade, for example, or Liquid IV. And while things are great options, a lot of them are really high in sugar, and the reality is we don't actually need sugar in order to absorb those electrolytes. There are cases when we have a very severe GI illness and we're having really trouble staying hydrated as a result of that. Sugar is important in those scenarios, but for the average person, we do not need any sugar to bring those electrolytes to bring that fluid into our cells. So my recommendation is to think about sugar substitute or no sugar versions. So that can be things like Gatorade zero, the sugar-free version of Liquid IV. Looking at honestly, even just taking a salt shaker, a potassium like the no salt or salt substitutes or actually all potassium. So you can use a little bit of salt, a little bit of potassium, shake that into your water, can be a really great way to make sure that you're both taking in fluids and that you have enough electrolytes to help bring those into your cells and stay hydrated. When we sweat, we're not just losing water, but we're losing some of those electrolytes as well. And so that's an important piece to make sure that you're adequately replacing those. Now, if you have kidney conditions, high blood pressure, things like that, certain types of heart disease like heart failure, if you have been told to watch your electrolytes, you certainly want to or watch your salt intake. You want to make sure that you talk with your own physician about doing any of these replacement drinks or adding a little bit of supplemental. But for someone who does not have those health conditions, if you've never been told that you need to limit salt in the diet, you do want to make sure that not just water, but that you're getting salt in as well. And some people, I will tell you, really hate water. And so if you are someone that hates water and looking for other options, there's definitely plenty of low calorie or no calorie options available to you. You've got things like good old Crystal Light that have been around for a very long time. We talked about some of those. Sugar-free Gatorade, Liquid IV, for example. Honestly, one of my favorite beverages during the summer is an herbal iced tea. And so brewing a herbal tea hot and then pouring that over a big glass of ice is a great way to get lots of flavor, but without any calories or anything like that. I use herbal teas so that they're caffeine free because a lot of times I'm very sensitive to caffeine, but you can do that with a caffeinated version or a decaffeinated version just depending on what your goals are for that. But making sure whether you're exercising, especially if you're exercising, but even if you're not, your hydration needs are going to be higher in the summer. So make sure that you're thinking about those. Then thinking about fun ways that you can address those, especially if you're someone who doesn't really love drinking water. The other thing I love thinking about in the summer is just all of the access to fresh produce. A lot of times we have farmer's markets or group shares like a CSA where you can buy a share to a farm and get fresh produce delivered, or you can pick that up every week. And it's really fun to be able to try some of these fruits and vegetables when they're at their peak of freshness and really get to enjoy them in a way that tastes the best. If you've tasted a tomato that's freshly picked off the vine compared to one that you bought at the grocery store, a lot of times there's a very meaningful difference between those two foods. And so experiencing these fruits and these vegetables in a way that is just really natural and really they're so good. I mean, they're just so delectable to enjoy these fruits and vegetables that are so hardy, so nutrient dense, so rich. And so the summer's a great time to do that. A lot of times farmer's markets are a great way to get those foods at a little bit more of an affordable price. Maybe try things that you haven't tried before with young children. My kids generally eat pretty healthy, and they also have their handful of go-to fruits and vegetables that they really enjoy the most. So especially when it comes to vegetables, my kids love carrots. My kids love peppers like bell peppers, especially things like cucumbers. On occasion, they love pickles and olives and that tomatoes is really the repertoire of what they enjoy the most. And so especially with kids, it's fun to go to the store, go to the farmer's market, see some of the different fruits and vegetables, and then have the experience of preparing those together, trying them, seeing what they taste like, seeing if they enjoy them. I really love with my children talking about what do their taste buds think? Is it sweet? Is it salty? Is it sour? Trying to pick up some of the different flavors. And even if they're like, Ugh, I don't like this. Just the act of seeing the fruit or vegetables, seeing it prepared, giving it a taste is really a fun way for kids to start to experiment with that type of thing. One thing that we're doing this year is growing a small garden and our yard, and it's fun for the kids to watch, especially we've got a lot of green tomatoes right now that are slowly growing in size. It's so fun for the kids to watch those. Even one of my sons loves tomatoes and the other one is kind of eh towards them, but it's interesting when they can pick them directly off the vine. Both boys are just obsessed with doing that. They love picking 'em off, they love enjoying them. And so it's fun for kids to see food enjoyed in that way. And even if you don't have children, I think as adults, for us to have the opportunity to experience foods as delicious as they are, it's just a great way to do that. And summer is the perfect time for doing it. One of the other things that I really noticed is that my mood is so much better in the summer, and I think we have a lot of data to support that this is the case. You look at conditions like sad seasonal affect disorder, for example. A lot of that is due to the decreased exposure to sunlight that happens in the wintertime months. And so there's a lot of tips and tricks and things that we can do to help stimulate or simulate rather that sunlight exposure. And in the summer, we don't have to do that. We typically have a lot of sunlight exposure that's just there naturally, and we feel the effects of that. A lot of that is based on the bright light signaling to the brain that we should be awake. We get vitamin D from the sun, which has a lot of impact in our mood. And so making sure that we're getting plenty of sunlight exposure just makes a really big difference. And when we're feeling that increased boost in mood and boost in energy, it may allow us to be more participative in our exercise goals in choosing some of the foods and taking advantage of all that summer has to offer. So a lot of times I think about this type of stuff, and people still say to me, protector, snow butt summer's so crazy. I've got travel. We've got lots of cookouts. Losing weight during the summer, I don't want to be focused on that. That's not fun. That's not enjoyable to me. So what I want to offer to you is what if it could be? What if you could really enjoy all that summer had to offer and still go on your vacations, participate in your workouts, do all of the fun things that summer has, and be in line with your goals. A lot of what we talk about in working with my patients is not just, here are some general nutrition recommendations or exercise recommendations, or here's a medication for weight loss. But how do you take these things in real life when you've got vacation, when you've got a cookout, when you've got a work party, when you've got a birthday party, when you've got all of these things that sort of throw you out of your routine, how are you going to handle those? And one of the things that is most interesting is that a lot of times we really don't decide how to handle it. We sort of allow ourselves in the moment to just be taken up in the experience rather having this really intentional goal setting leading up to it. And the interesting thing about goal setting is that especially in the weight loss journey, we are often, I feel like a lot of times we're in a situation where we set these really overly ambitious or overly restrictive goals for ourselves. And then when we fail to live up to those, there's a lot of disappointment that can come. And so a lot of work that I do with my patients is in working with this goal setting, how do we set goals that feel very doable, very loving, very nourishing, and how can we do both? And how can you lose weight and feel like you're able to really enjoy the experiences of summer or any other time? Feel like you can go on a vacation and enjoy the food and be in line with your weight loss goals? And I'm here to tell you that that is totally possible. And when you can go on vacation and set some intentions for what that looks like, a lot of times we go on a trip and if we sort of eat everything we want to, we're like, oh, I only get go to this place once I really got to enjoy it. When we come back, a lot of times we feel pretty icky about that. Physically, our body might be feeling a little bit kind of, eh, maybe we've gained a little bit of weight. Psychologically we feel frustrated with ourselves because we've been working so hard towards our goals, and the vacation may have been the time that we stepped away from that. And so encouraging you just before the vacation happens, for example, what would be the most excellent way that this could play out? What would be the number of desserts that I have? What would be the number of alcoholic beverages that I have? Are there choices that I could make that I would still really enjoy that would be more in line with my health goals? Maybe the answer is yes, maybe no. But a lot of times I think you're surprised to find the answer is really yes, there Can I pay attention to things like my hunger and my satiety? So even if I'm making a choice that's less in line with my goals, that I don't have to overeat it. I can choose to have a dessert and have four or five bites of it rather than having the entire thing. And again, these are decisions that you're getting to make for yourself. We might give you some suggestions about what has worked well for other people, but the reality is taking ownership of those goals and excitement about how those goals are going to support you. A lot of times you can go on the vacation, you can go to the cookout, you can go to your kid's birthday party, and you can both really enjoy that while also working towards your weight loss goals. And it's not about the short term. It's really about this infinite game. What is the long-term goal? And every decision that you make that's in the direction of your goals is helping you to become this version of you that feels healthy and feels like they are reconnected with their body. And I just feel like the summer is the perfect time to do that. And if you've been on a, you've had diets before, if you've taken weight loss medications before, if you've had bariatric surgery before, if you're feeling really frustrated and you feel like, oh my gosh, I have tried everything and nothing works, I would love to partner with you because we have so many patients who have a very similar story. They feel like they have tried everything, and maybe it worked really well for a period of time, but then all the weight came back. We would like to work with you in order to support those long-term health goals. So you can think about not just the summer, but what does this look like into the fall into winter as we work through holiday season and then coming around again next year. And can you set yourself up with goals that feel really doable, that feel loving, that feel nourishing for your body, and you feel like I can both do these goals, achieve these goals, and have weight loss success because they are more in line with my goals. So I want you to spend a little bit of time thinking about that, thinking about the way that summer might be the perfect opportunity for you to get started. If you're interested in having weight loss support, there is no better way to achieve your weight loss goals. Learn about some of the medications if those might be a right fit for you, and I would love to support you in that journey. The best way to connect with me is through my website. You can find that in the show notes or at It's We are supporting our patients to hit their health goals, whether it's summer, fall, winter, or spring. So I'm so excited for you. Thank you so much for joining me for today's episode. I'll see you all next week. Bye-Bye.
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