Oh the joys of summer! For some of you, you live in cold weather places, so it’s a time to enjoy the outdoors: pool parties, BBQ’s, a day or vacation to the beach. The kids are home from school, you don’t have to wake up early and you don’t have to do the whole run around mom taxi thing. I’m just imagining green grass, bicycles and lemonade, or beach chairs, white sand, blue sky and blue sea.
However, along with all of that fun, comes the chaos. Everything is off schedule, the kids are out of school, so if you don’t send them off to camp, you have to constantly figure out how to keep them occupied (besides just propping them up in front of a TV all day). All of those BBQ’s and parties mean delicious, but not so healthy food choices and fun cocktails. And hitting the gym? It’s nearly impossible with the lack of any sort of routine, right?
Do you find yourself gaining weight and even generally not feeling your optimal best during this time? You diet down to get that bikini body for the summer, but then it slowly creeps back over the summer months and you find yourself trying to get back on track before the holiday season and it starts all over again.
How can you “have your cake and eat it too?” I mean, you want to have fun over the summer break and on your vacation, right? You won’t want to deprive yourself of those delicious cocktails and special foods that you generally only get during this time, I hear ya. I’m not going to tell you that you can just go hog wild and that I have magic dust that I’m going to mail you to sprinkle on yourself so you maintain your lean physique. However, there are some tips that will allow you to at least maintain where you are and have fun in the process.
Here are my 5 tips to making it through the summertime madness (mostly) unscathed:
Portion control. I think if we just watch how much we are eating, it will make a huge difference in regulating our weight, and health. Traveling somewhere exotic where you get to try some amazing new food? Go ahead and have it, but just a bite, maybe two. Share it - give the rest to someone traveling with you.
Eat consciously. When you eat something that may not be the healthiest, own it. Really enjoy that small portion that you will have. Taste it, savor it, and most of all, don’t feel guilty about it. Think about eating like the French: eat small portions of delicious food that you love and make it an experience. Allowing yourself to indulge in simple pleasures in small amounts goes a long way and doesn’t give you the feeling of f*$# it, I already blew it, so what the hell. Enjoy the moment and get right back on track to better food selections most of the time.
Which leads me to: eat well 95% of the time. If 95% of what you eat is good, healthy food and 5% of what you eat is indulgence, you are doing OK. The idea over vacation time is not really to lose weight, but to maintain so when you get back to real life, you aren’t starting all over again.
Load up on the veggies. Everytime you eat, try to load up on the veggies. Whether you are cooking for yourself or eating out, it’s not difficult to make most of your plate full of vegetables. In a restaurant, skip the bread, ask for a side salad or vegetables instead of the fries, etc. I know, that doesn’t sound like fun, but I personally would rather splurge on a small scoop of gelato or a yummy cocktail rather than scarf down some fries. And if you really have to have one, steal a fry from your husband, child or friend eating with you.
Avoid the white stuff. You know what I mean: white flour and white sugar. OK, I know this is nearly impossible while you’re traveling, but if you make a conscious effort to eat small amounts of these foods and load up on your proteins and veggies, you can afford to splurge on that cocktail, glass of wine or bite of that amazing dessert.
OK, I said 5 tips, but I actually have 6. GET MOVING! It’s so great to sleep in and be lazy when there’s no set schedule, but it’s so easy to get some movement in your normal day. If you are in the mountains, take a hike; at the beach, take a walk while basking in the sea air; in the city, walk to where you have to go rather than driving; grab a loved one and find a yoga video on YouTube. If you have kids, have fitness competitions (who can plank the longest, the most sit ups or push ups in a minute, etc.). The options are limitless, it’s just a matter of changing your mindset to prioritize moving every day!
We are all human and no one is perfect, especially during summer vacation, however, we can enjoy ourselves in moderation and feel great that we maintained ourselves over the summer. When the kids get back to school and you get a regular routine again, you will be so glad that you don’t have to start the process of getting fit and healthy all over again!