Have you ever thought to yourself…there’s no way I can stick to my usual plan over the summer, so I’ll just get back to it in September?”
If you have, you’re not alone. From talking to hundreds of people working on their health, weight, and performance, a common theme comes up in September about how the summer went… and it’s not pretty. That weight that was lost is back. Strength gained in the gym or on the field just isn’t the same. Cravings are out of control, the fridge is empty and meal planning seems like a distant memory. Once the summer fun is done and the reality of having to start all over again hits, most clients feel really overwhelmed.
And I get it, we’ve all been there in one way or another. This year, make a point to enjoy all that summer has to offer without losing sight of the bigger picture or facing the dread of starting from scratch come the fall. Here are my top 5 tips for a healthy summer, without skipping out on the fun.
Plan out your alcohol
Now all my clients know I just came home with a cupboard full of wine from Naramata, so I’m not about to tell you to drink spritzers (which is a waste of good wine) or not at all. The goal here is sustainable, not perfect. What I will tell you is that the way alcohol is metabolized increases the likelihood that those calories are going in to long term storage so we should be thoughtful about it.
- Make sure you have at least 3-4 alcohol free days each week unless you’re on actual vacation time. This doesn’t mean save it all up and binge drink on the other days, we’re just aiming to give your body a break to repair and recover so we do less damage.
- Think about what events, daytrips, patio afternoons you have coming up and focus on drinking when there will be some sort of social enjoyment or quality time. You’ll get the most bang for your buck out of the experience.
- Choose drinks that are low in sugar to avoid doubling down on the possibility of calories being stored as fat – coolers, spiked iced teas, sweetened sodas as mixers, or daiquiris and other blended drinks all pack a huge punch that will be hard to exercise your way out of (not to mention will worsen your hangover).
2. Bring some healthy food on every trip
Most of us are adults here – and although it might feel nerdy to be the one packing the veggies and dip on a camping trip with the boys, your tummy (and everyone else’s) will thank you.
- Having at least some fibre and water rich fruits and veg each day will help keep your meal structure in place so you don’t come back feeling crummy and fighting cravings.
- Packing some unprocessed proteins – pre skewering marinated chicken thighs is a great way to get some protein in as well as easy to eat when plates and cutlery are in short supply and local salmon is always a hit – put on your rub or marinade and freeze before packing in to the cooler to keep it fresh, and make it extra tasty.
- Stick to water for fluids – loading up on soda and other sweetened beverages will likely lead to sugar cravings when you’re back, and the frequent spikes in blood sugar and insulin are more likely to contribute to weight gain.Find more tips on how to pack healthy foods for a roadtrip here.
3. Plan for indulgent meals
I’m all for enjoying good food, and the idea of planned indulgence is built in to every client’s strategy here at Westcoast Nutrition. Just like you did in #1, keep in mind the events you have coming up each week and choose one or two where you know you’ll really enjoy stepping out of the usual meal balance. Knowing what’s coming up makes it a lot easier to stick to your usual food choices the rest of the week, and ensures you’re getting enough of the healthy stuff to continue working towards your goals. Actually allowing yourself to indulge removes that sense of restriction that can make eating well feel challenging.
4. Build in summer activity as often as possible
- Family trip planned? Look for family friendly hikes and trails in the area, tread water while watching the kids swim or take some time to use the hotel gym a time or two.
- Meeting up with friends? Pack a Frisbee or softball to toss around. Rent bikes and do the seawall. Check out any of the epic lower mainland hikes or plan a day of swimming and relaxing at the beach.
- One of my favourite low key trails when I need to catch up with a friend is the Fort to Fort trail in Fort Langley – easy enough to hold a conversation, long enough to get your muscles moving.
5. Keep in touch with whoever holds you accountable
Too often we lose touch of what keeps us on track during the year when the summer months hit and end up creeping away from the big goals and motivators that are so important. That leaves you several steps back by the fall instead of at least holding steady.
Figure out who keeps you on track to feeling good – whether that’s your dietitian, trainer, therapist, physio or RMT – and book your sessions in for the entire few months ahead of time. These are always moveable, but they’re a good reminder to have in the calendar so two weeks away doesn’t become two months. I actually use this strategy with my trainer (shoutout to the ever awesome team at True North), chiro and RMT or else I will forget for entire months and end up feeling stiff and not myself AND having to work much harder to get my body feeling good again.
If you know you often fall a little farther off track during the summer than you’d like, I would love to chat with you about it. You can find a full list of services here or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you stay on your game during the summer months? I’d love to have you join in the conversation on our facebook page