Why summer is your enemy

31 05 2016

Ok, maybe you thought this blog was about the “attack of the cicadas” (aka, the enemy),

Sam Zizzi

Sam Zizzi, Health Behavior Specialist

but its really about how these “longer” days also mean extra opportunities to consume extra calories, especially in the evenings. With the longer days and being outside after dinner more often, I find myself hungry and reaching for a snack or bowl of cereal after my kids go to bed. Warmer weather also brings with it afternoon barbeques, weekend picnics, and summer parties. Additional sweet treats and legal beverages can easily add to your caloric consumption on these warm, longer days.

Make sure you talk with your Registered Dietitian about good snacking options in the evening, and how to balance your calorie needs throughout the day. Be mindful of the change of seasons, and that a new plan may be needed especially if your schedule has changed. As always, portion control is king, so if you do add in that snack to satisfy your hunger, make a good choice and pick a small bowl or plate to limit the amount when necessary. But there is some good to balance out this “enemy”.

During this time of year, it is amazing to see the Mountain State explode in green and it’s great to have more hours of daylight to be active with my family. My kids have been out hiking and biking and scooter-ing at all hours of the day, and these activities often take me outside as well, mostly in the afternoons and evenings. During this season, the extra hours of daylight provide ample opportunities to be active early and late in the day (even if you can’t sneak out for a walk at lunch).

Here are a couple tips to build in extra physical activity to balance out your consumption:

  1. Take advantage of “longer” mornings to sneak in extra physical activity before your responsibilities for the day fill up your time. In my neighborhood, there is a group of women who regularly run at 6am. These runs are now at sunrise, and provide cool temperatures and little road traffic.
  2. When you are out with your children at one of “their” activities, bring along your walking shoes or whatever else you might need to fit in your own exercise. I have friends, for example, that dress to walk while their kid has a soccer or baseball practice. These “captive moments” can become wonderful “me time” instead of checking your email or Facebook (again, and again).
  3. Consider trying a new activity to add variety to your exercise routine. Or add in an outdoor workout designed by your local fitness professional. Take a jog while your kids ride their bikes on the trail or in your street. Dust off your bike and head to a local park. Try some aquajogging or swim a few laps while your kids are at the pool.

Remember that this program is designed so you can develop the skills and confidence you need to be healthy for life. Its an experiment, so keep adjusting to find the right formula to maximize your motivation for active living.

Enjoy the summer!

Sam Zizzi




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