Ahhh summertime, and the living is easy ...
On the one hand, summer can mean lazy days on the porch with a glass of lemonade or digging your toes in the sand while sipping Margaritas, or backyard barbeques with family and friends.
On the other hand, as fall approaches you might realize that summer made you a little worse for wear, from skin and hair to just feeling run down.
We asked Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, a nutritionist and exercise physiologist, as well as the author of "Living Skinny In Fat Genes™: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight & Feel Great" to give some tips for renewing yourself for fall.
Summer can be a interruption to people’s normal routines. They may spend more time outdoors in the sun, the days are longer and tend to disrupt sleep due to altered circadian rhythms, and the types of food may be dramatically different from other times of the year.
How taxing, really, is the season on women’s health?
Summer is a delightful time of year for some people because better weather means more outdoor activities and recreation. However, it’s challenging for others due to emphasis on social events with high-calorie foods and drinks.
Inadequate quality and quantity of sleep has detrimental effects on everyone’s body. When we sleep, it allows our bodies the opportunity to rest, recharge, repair and renew. Just as you plug in your cell phone or other portable electronic devices, our bodies need the same.
We also burn the most calories from fat while we are at “rest” – and sleep is the ultimate state of rest!
What kind of toll does summer have on women’s skin and hair, even if they are only getting moderate sun exposure? What do women need to do to prevent drying, sun and age spots and wrinkles? Are there nutrients women can add to their diet to help replenish and strengthen their hair?
Summer is my favorite season. I don’t know if I’m the exception to the rule, but I personally love the fruits and vegetables that are available in the summer. I also spend a lot more time outdoors – between the beach and swimming in an outdoor pool, which means my hair and skin definitely take a beating.
Sunblock is key, along with good moisturizers on the body and face. Eating good fats are important for our skin: nuts, seeds, avocados, fish (tuna, salmon) are simple and healthy additions to your food routine.
Many women are mindful of weight gain around the winter holidays, but are we just as prone to putting on extra pounds during the summer?
Women are prone to summer weight gain due to more food festivities: holidays, graduation parties, barbecues, etc. Alcohol can be a huge source of discretionary calories that pack on the pounds.
Some women like the frozen drinks of summer – but remember, these same beverages are packed with calories, so go easy! It’s also a good idea to have a large glass of water or club soda between cocktails to offset the dehydrating effects that alcohol has on the body.
Do you have any helpful tips for shedding those extra pounds for fall?
We all tend to get really busy in fall, but remember being mentally “busy” is not the same as being physically active. I recommend wearing a physical activity tracker to monitor daily physical activity and eating foods that are higher in fiber (read the label – don’t depend on marketing terms like “whole grains”).
Eating a soluble, flavorless fiber supplement before going to a party can help you to feel full sooner, so you don’t overeat.
Barbeques, vacations and get-togethers with friends and family are cherished rites of summer. Do our cholesterol and triglycerides tend to become elevated as a result? What are some ways to regain control?
In the summer, many of us have less control over foods shared at get-togethers, so we often don’t balance out “better for you” foods, like fruits, veggies and whole grains, which can increase our triglycerides and total cholesterol. Eating high fiber foods and physical activity are great ways for bringing the numbers down.
Adding smart supplementation is also a terrific way to help. Fish oils can be beneficial along with lycopene, which is commonly found in tomatoes, to help regulate blood pressure.
What other health challenges does summer tend to exacerbate? What do you suggest is helpful for getting back on track for fall?
For many women, fall schedule changes can be stressful. Take one day at a time. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling overwhelmed this time of year and try to “fall” into your new routine with a sense of empowerment.
Consider drinking a cup of green tea every day – not only for the phytochemicals which act as antioxidants, but also because it can help you to stay focused, alert and calm.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Yes, don’t make excuses for not taking care of yourself. Make your health from the inside out a priority. Get exercise in, even if it’s 30 minutes each day.
Think about the food and beverages you put into your body. Do they only taste good or are there some added benefits for consumption, like vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, etc.
Small changes can have big results when they accumulate into a new healthier lifestyle.
Lynette Summerill is an award-winning writer living in San Jose,CA. In addition to writing for publications, She spends a questionable amount of her free time contemplating her relationship with mid-century modern design and watersports.
Interview with Dr. Felicia Stoler, DCN, MS, RD, FACSM. 21 Aug. 2014.; Living Skinny in Fat Genes: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great. 2010.Pegasus Books.
Reviewed August 26, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith