What’s not to love about summer? It’s the season of relaxing vacations, sunbathing (just use your SPF!), and endless margaritas. And despite all the lounging and occasional overindulgence in umbrella-clad drinks, summer may be the time of year you find it easiest to achieve your weight-loss goals. Here’s why:
Nice weather encourages you to be active. In 2012, Americans set a record for exercising frequently, according to Gallup poll data. Why? Because the year was unusually warm. Not surprisingly, data also consistently show that exercise tends to be seasonal—Americans are generally most active in the spring and summer and tend to slack come fall and winter. So take advantage of the pleasant weather, and forego the gym for outdoor workouts on occasion: Past research has shown that people who exercise outside at least some of the time are more active than indoor exercisers.
You may be less prone to bad-mood binges. Wintertime is dark and dreary—and for some people, that means it’s the season of depression. In a new University of Pittsburgh study of people with winter seasonal affective disorder, 27 percent reported binge eating during the most depressing months of the year. And of these overeaters, 94 percent said they isolate themselves during the winter and 90 percent said they crave carbs more than normal when it’s cold outside.
Hot weather may help suppress your appetite. Yes, ice cream is the unofficial food of summer—but overall, you may find that you’re less prone to pantry raids in the warmer months. Why? The heat may tamp down your appetite. Case in point: In a 2013 study, people who worked out in a hot environment (86° F) ate less afterward than those who exercised in a cooler setting (50° F). This suggests that sweltering temperatures may, in fact, reduce your desire to eat—even after you’ve done a tough workout.
You’re showing more skin. Women consider wearing a bikini a bigger threat to their confidence than baring all in the bedroom, according to a 2012 study in Body Image. Read: Slipping into your bathing suit—and then, you know, actually wearing it on the beach—can equal serious motivation to slim down. But we’re guessing you already knew that one. If you’re feeling inspired to get a physique you’re excited to show off, check out the fastest beach body workout.