Summertime a weighty season

When I first moved here, I remembered being warned about gaining weight in the mango season.

mango summertime weighty

Mango season can add a few extra pounds. Photo:File

At first I thought that this was due to the wonderful fruit and how easy it was to consume numerous of them at one time. However, knowing that the mango only has about 20 calories per ounce it didn’t make sense that a person could really gain weight on them, especially giving the fiber. Instead I looked into the season for factors that can lead to weight gain.

The mango season is May thru about September, give or take, and during this season may other variables change which are more likely the cause for a greater girth.

Firstly the season is hotter, and most people do not drink enough water to compensate for the heat. At times replacing water for more ‘refreshing’ drinks such as sodas, ice tea, lemonade, and juice drinks, which of course can add up to a lot more calories each day. Lack of water also slows the metabolism and can make the body more susceptible to illness. Check yourself, even if you are thinking you are a ‘good’ water drinker. Do you drink a minimum of three liters or 96 ounces per day? Do some records and see if you do this consistently all seven days of the week. If not start drinking your quota and help every organ in your body gets healthier, as well as reduces belly fat.

Secondly the season offers a chance to get away on vacation. The kids are out of school and its time to go on summer holiday. And with every holiday comes the chance for greater consumption of alcohol, food, calories, and less exercise. You can do a lot to prevent this, and still have fun with the family. Start by drinking only water, and eating normal portion sizes of meals no matter how large the plate of food the restaurant has served you. Next limit alcohol to just meals and stick with lower alcoholic content choices such as beers over mixed drinks. Stay active on your holiday by packing your walking shoes and taking on some more athletic activities with the family.

Thirdly the season offers more stress. As so many co-workers have gone on holiday or sick leave it leaves very few behind to do all the work. Keep stress under check by starting an exercise routine and making time for you to take a break in the day to get some lunch. Do not miss meals. Pack your lunches, snacks, and drinks so that you can stay healthy in this challenging season. Cortisol is produced by the body when stress levels increase and this can directly lead to weight gain. Go after work to the gym and blow off some steam in a group fitness class, a spinning class, walk with a friend, or swim in the pool. Staying active will help reduce stress and start to take care of the extra weight you may have started storing. Finally get more sleep. Rest is critical for reducing stress and keeping the body healthy. Look to get eight hours a night as a minimum.

Finally look back at January and February and review if you are still for filling the behaviors you start with your New Years resolutions. You started strong, now don’t let the summer get you down by increasing your weight.

Tara Godfrey is a Nutritional Counsellor with the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management.