Winter makes it easy to gain weight. Limited exposure to sunlight can reduce levels of serotonin in the brain. Since serotonin helps regulate appetite and mood, these drops can result in a craving for carbohydrates, which can lead to a gradual increase in pounds.
“There’s quite a bit of science that shows levels of serotonin, which regulates appetite and mood, dip in the winter time,” says J. Adam Rindfleish, M.D, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
Springtime, however, with its warmer temperatures and increased hours of daylight, can spur a desire to get active and lose weight. Many people start looking for ways to lose weight fast, either because they want to look good in shorts and bathing suits, or because they’re looking to get out and want to feel more confident.
Before looking for the best exercise to lose weight, however, individuals should check with their doctors. Physician-guided weight loss has shown to be effective in achieving long-term weight goals. “We work with patients on a one-to-one basis to customize a program that works with a person’s lifestyle, preferences and medical history,” says Dr. Michael Kaplan, medical director of The Center for Medical Weight Loss – the nation’s largest network of weight loss physicians.
Best way to lose weight fast: diet
According to scientists, cutting calories is one of the most effective methods to lose weight fast. Data published in 1997, for example, in which researchers analyzed nearly 500 studies on weight loss, showed that diet alone, and diet plus exercise, resulted in about four times the weight loss compared to an exercise-only intervention. Not only did participants who reduced calories lose more weight, they lost it faster—about two pounds a week compared to less than half a pound a week.
In addition to trying to eat less, choose foods that are low-calorie and encourage weight loss:
- Grapefruits: This is a great fruit for breakfast. One study found that those who ate half a grapefruit before meals lost an average of 3.6 pounds. Grapefruit has been found to help lower insulin, which can encourage weight loss.
- Apples: They’re high in fiber, which is associated with weight loss.
- Peaches: They’re mostly water, and are a great source of fiber.
- Avocadoes: Full of healthy fats and fiber, they help dieters feel full after eating so they’ll be less tempted to snack later.
- Yogurt: Rich in calcium and protein, yogurt was found in one study to help people lose more weight than those who reduced calories without increasing calcium.
Best exercise to lose weight
Though a spring fitness plan must include a reduced-calorie diet, exercise is also key to not only losing weight, but maintaining those results. In the aforementioned study, the individuals who went through the diet-plus-exercise program kept the weight off more than those who only dieted.
Exercise helps develop and preserve muscle mass, and muscles burn calories. Though spring can mean a return of favorite exercises like jogging and biking, other options can help put the fun back into an exercise program.
- Swimming: Spring means people can get back out to the beach and into the pool. Swimming is a great exercise for weight loss, as it’s easier on joints and works the entire body.
- Racquetball and tennis: The intense side-to-side movements in these sports help burn more calories per hour.
- Tai chi: Many outdoor classes are available in the spring and summer; these have stress-relieving benefits that may help promote weight loss.
- Rowing: Those who are near a body of water can enjoy this rigorous exercise for losing weight and building muscle.
Spring fitness best achieved with guidance
Losing weight can be a challenge during any season, but spring brings with it a natural feeling of renewal. In the end, the best exercise to lose weight is the exercise a person enjoys doing the most, and will therefore stick with on a regular basis. Those who aren’t sure which exercise or diet may be best can check with the physicians at The Center for Medical Weight Loss for personalized recommendations. The center has a published track record of impressive results, with the average client dropping 28 pounds in just 12 weeks. Perhaps even more notable, more than 95 percent of those people maintained their results for a year or longer – statistics that were cited in the American Journal of Medicine.
- University of Wisconsin Health, http://www.uwhealth.org/news/tips-for-managing-winter-weight-gain/26265
- SF Gate, http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/lose-weight-faster-eating-less-exercising-4599.html