Feels like summer is here! What does that mean for weight loss goals? Some argue that weight loss occurs more easily during the summer because the heat suppresses appetite. However, some studies indicate that summer heat comes with a decrease in basal metabolic rate because our body does not have to work hard to produce extra heat as it does in the winter (1). The basal metabolic rate is defined as the amount of energy used for hemostatic processes (1). These processes do not include digestion and physical activity, but the energy used during rest: thyroid function, body temperature, breathing, heartbeats, and repairing cells (1). Body size, lean muscle mass, age, and gender are additional factors that play a role in the basal metabolic rate (1). The energy used during resting is the minimum calories your body needs to function (1). You must consider walking around the house or office, sitting and standing, physical activity, and energy to eat and digest food. These tasks increase the calories needed per day!
Though our metabolic rate may decrease during the summer, and we may feel less hungry due to that, the warmer season tends to come with more activity! It is essential to refuel your body! Use the Power of 5 Plate Method to guide your balanced meals this summer. The Power of 5 Plate Method is a technique used to measure portions or different macronutrients to ensure you are consuming a balanced and sustainable meal. Start by dividing the plate in half. Fill one-half of your plate with non-starchy veggies like lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes.
On the second half of the plate, divide the plate in half again. Place your starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans, or legumes on the top half. This quarter of your plate is for your carbohydrates. The last quarter of your plate is for your protein. Reach for lean protein sources such as chicken breast, turkey, eggs, tofu, or fish. Ensure a healthy fat is on your plate as well, such as nuts, avocados, low-fat dressings, or olive oil. Lastly, you can add a low-fat dairy product like cheese, yogurt, or milk to complete your meal and get variety from all 5 food groups!
With warm weather, comes BBQs, graduation parties, and family gatherings. Social gatherings can prevent you from eating when you are in a stressed state. The heat can also prevent you from eating enough to keep you energized. It is important to remember to stay hydrated and nourish your body when you are on the go and bouncing from event to party. When putting your plate together at these gatherings, use the plate method for balance, variety, and portion control!
Anthanont, Pimjai et al. “Lack of Seasonal Differences in Basal Metabolic Rate in Humans: A Cross-Sectional Study.” Hormone and metabolic research = Hormon- und Stoffwechselforschung = Hormones et metabolisme vol. 49,1 (2017): 30-35. doi:10.1055/s-0042-10779