I dance friend of mine first told me the term “summer 7”. It’s the 7 lbs she gains each summer from the BBQs, parties, drinks on patios and just plain more social time with friends and family.
My life is certainly more exciting during the summer months…just last night, my friend and I spent waaaay too much time on a lovely downtown patio, drinking wine and soaking up the heat and sunshine! The extra alcohol in the summer is definitely one factor behind the summer 7!
Which means, summer is also kind of like the December holidays. We drink. We indulge. We are a bit lazier. We exercise less. Our routines get a bit messed up.
So, it’s not a surprise that many of my clients come to me in September asking for help!
Can You Prevent the Summer 7?
It never fails. The end of August hits and suddenly women are like, “damn…I should have eaten better…my pants don’t fit!”
There is nothing wrong with having fun and enjoying the long, warm days of summer. In fact, I would never tell you to stop socializing and taking in your favorite summer activities.
But, what can you do to avoid the summer 7 in the first place?
The easiest solution is to really watch what you eat on days you are out and about. I used to follow a routine where I’d eat really well during the week and then enjoy myself on the weekends.
The problem with this, though, is that it doesn’t help balance those hormones that cause the summer 7 weight gain in the first place. Sure, the extra calories and unhealthy food choices don’t help. But, you can totally prevent the summer 7 when your fat-burning hormones are in charge!
Fat Storage Hormones Beware!
The reason we battle our weight and struggle to keep it off when we do lose is not that we’re eating too many calories or not exercising enough. It’s because our fat storage hormones are in the driver’s seat!
Plus, a lot of the foods that turn on the fat storage hormones are also very inflammatory. Which boosts that feeling of being bloated, puffy and fat.
You can turn off those fat storage hormones by eating the right foods, though. And this is key to preventing the summer 7 (or the holiday 10).
When we eat a lot of carbs, especially processed carbs and grains, our body responds by releasing insulin (fat storage hormone #1). Insulin’s job is to move the digested carbs (aka glucose) from the blood to the cells that use it for energy. When those cells have had enough, the rest of converted to fat.
Continually eating a high carb diet, even healthy carbs, can keep insulin levels high. Thus, weight gain!
Inflammation from these processed carbs (including grains and dairy) kickstarts the release of cortisol, your stress hormone. Cortisol (fat storage hormone #2) is there to get your body ready for fight or flight. Only…we don’t fight or flee very often. Nor do we even realize that foods we thought were healthy actually cause inflammation and, ultimately, fat storage!
And finally, we have estrogen (fat storage hormone #3). When cortisol is continually being pumped out AND insulin is constantly storing energy as fat, we end up with too much estrogen.
Estrogen is a pro-growth hormone, which causes more fat storage.
Use Food to Turn On Fat Burning Hormones
This may seem kind of hopeless…we have hormones that are easily and often out of whack, causing our bodies to store more and more fat. And here we are battling this with calorie restriction, macro tracking and / or massive amounts of exercise.
Yet nothing seems to be working!
If you’re stuck battling your weight and you just aren’t seeing the fat loss (or you’re really struggling to keep it off), it’s likely that your fat storage hormones are still turned “on”.
What you want is for your fat burning hormonesto be on instead!
Glucagon is your main fat burning hormone. It works in opposition to insulin and is there to move stored energy out of fat cells between meals. When insulin is high, glucagon is low, and vice versa.
Thyroid hormone is another fat burning hormone because it revs up your metabolism. The problem, though, is that when cortisol and estrogen are high, thyroid hormone gets suppressed.
You can use real, whole foods to turn on those fat burning hormones!
- Eat more plant-based healthy fats, like olive oil, macadamia nuts, walnuts, coconut oil and avocado.
- Include 3-4 servings of wild-caught fatty fish each week, like salmon or mackerel.
- Reduce your consumption of sweets and sugar, even artificial sweeteners.
- Ditch all dairy (except for the occasion serving of grass-fed butter or full-fat plain Greek yogurt).
- Avoid eating grains in the morning, including toast, oatmeal or bagels.
The 40 or Less Method
I get it…losing weight (or fat) is super hard! I struggled with weight for over 15 years before I finally lost 40 lbs and dropped 3 dress sizes. Then afterwards, I was so confused about what to eat because I couldn’t seem to keep the weight off naturally.
It took me about 5 years to finally figure out how to eat for long-term fat loss. And this way of eating definitely did NOT involve continually counting calories or tracking macros. Nope, because I had to be able to keep it off and still live my life.
Which is how I ended up developing my 40 or Less Method – my 90-day hormonal fat loss program that helps you turn on your fat burning hormones and how to eat to keep them on for the rest of your life.