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  • Sarah Murphy, BScN

One Reason You Might Weigh a Little More in the Summer (So don't hyper-focus on the scale!)

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

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Summer days are ahead of us - bringing high heat and high humidity.

On top of staying hydrated, a frequent concern people often face during times of higher heat and humidity are fluctuations in overall weight.

You may experience bloating or even feel heavier or "swollen" during the summer months. You might even not be friends with the scale (which I recommend not getting hung up on anyway).

There are many factors that impact the number on the scale, so don't let it 'weigh you down'. I see too many of my clients getting frustrated with that number and it's potentially 'up and down' ways.

About 60% of the human body is made up of water. During hot and humid times, our bodies are retaining heightened amounts of this water to keep hydrated, causing us to hold on to more water than usual. These weight changes aren't guaranteed, and depend on other factors such your diet, hydration, activity level, salt intake, etc., but it certainly is one potential factor for weight fluctuations in the hot and humid months.

Other things can affect the scale too at other times of the year, such as hormones, salt intake, bathroom schedule, etc. So bottom line: don't let it define you! It only represents your gravitational pull towards the centre of the earth, and nothing else - including your self worth! Yes use it as one tool, but focus on the trend over time, as well as other factors such as measurements, how clothes are fitting, how you feel, etc.

Back to the water intake...keeping hydrated can certainly help with these fluctuations as well as how you feel overall.

A question many people and many clients are asking is, how much water should I be drinking in a day? You’ve probably heard the common response, “drink 8 glasses of water per day”, when in fact it actually around 9-12 cups of total fluid required daily, which is more than 8 but also doesn't have to be just water, which is a bit more realistic for many people.

Even though getting 9-12 cups of fluid per day is a reasonable goal, it is not a perfect fit for everyone. Water is lost when we breathe, move, perspire and urinate. These losses are amplified on hot and humid days. Therefore, when considering your daily water intake, acknowledging the activities you are participating in and the amount of movement you complete throughout the day. Most importantly, periodically reflect on how you are feeling during the day. If you are feeling light-headed or tired, it is likely time to 'drink up'. Check this link for more info on how much fluid you should be getting daily.

Here are just a few simple ways to incorporate water into your day:

1. Take a water bottle with you wherever you go

Taking a water bottle with you will ensure you have access to water at all times as there may not be water fountains readily available wherever you go. Also, if it is there in front of you, you are more likely to drink it!

2. Drink water with all your meals

Water is ultimately the best choice for hydration. However, other beverages such as juice, milk, coffee, tea, (and yes, even alcoholic drinks) can contribute to hydration.

3. Drink water before and after exercise

Make sure you are hydrated before exercising as you will lose water as you sweat. After exercise, make up for your water losses.

4. Include foods in your diet that are higher in water content

Foods such as cucumber, watermelon, apples, peaches, orange slices, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, grapefruit and pineapple are all snacks that can contribute to your hydration status.

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