Thursday, June 14, 2012

Three Reasons My Weight is Seasonal

For the past several years, I've been away at university, a place I found full of stress and erratic schedules. I've talked about how I gained a bunch of weight there.  Worse, as I gained weight, the less energy I had.  Once I ran out of energy, I ended up regularly making choices between finishing an assignment or cooking a nutritious dinner, or between studying and exercising.  Since the assignments and studying were the whole reason I paid obscene sums of money to attend an institute of higher education, I almost always chose them-- to the detriment of my health. (Yes, I know better, but I could never seem to get far enough ahead to break the cycle.)

The past two summers, however, I've been away from home on internships.  These involved working nice, regular 40-hour weeks far away from most of the social pressures of going out with friends for eating and drinking.  I lost weight each time.

So, here's my speculation about why I think it has been easier to lose weight in the summer.

  1. The sun comes out during the summer, so it's a pleasure to go outside and do active things.  When it's cold and snowy outside, staying indoors wrapped in a warm, cozy blanket with a book and a mug of cocoa is a much stronger temptations.
  2. Summers bring a variety of fresh local produce. There are four farmer's markets every week near my current area.  For example, check out these gorgeous local strawberries. They will go in my mouth the next chance I get. 
  3. delicious red local strawberries
    Gnrf gnrf nom nom nom.
    Now, compare them with the anemic green-pink winter strawberries that you see in grocery stores during the winter. Not appetizing, right?  So, I find it far easier to eat well in the summer (when all the produce looks yummy) than in the winter (when all the produce looks like it's something that I should probably eat because it's healthy, but isn't something I actually want to eat at all).

  4. During my summers, I've been able to establish a routine. I love routines: when I have a routine, I get more done and feel considerably less stressed. I attribute this to removing some of the constant decision-making from my life.  Contrast this with university life, which threw projects, assignments, and exams at any attempt I made at establishing a routine.  I got through it, but one of my methods for getting through it was "let's order a pizza as a reward for me getting this horrible assignment done"*, which didn't help the health issue.
Now that I'm out of school, I hope that I can find a job, establish a routine, and have a better chance at obtaining and then maintaining a healthy weight and activity level.  So, I'm curious: do you find it easier to lose weight (or maintain a healthy weight) in the summer?  Why or why not?

In the meantime, it's a gorgeous day here.  I'm going to take a walk, and then I think I'm going to eat some strawberries.
* Food rewards impede maintenance of a healthy weight, but that's another piece of college: what other rewards can a college student afford in terms of time and money?  Certainly, it would have been nice to make an fun outing or a new piece of clothing a reward, but even if I had had the money for those kinds of rewards, I didn't have the time, and often, they weren't even available in my small college town.  Pizza, on the other hand, had the unique characteristic of feeling like a reward while both feeding me and allowing me to move on to the next task as I ate.

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