Summer and fall are the season’s in which most people find themselves struggling to find balance with their healthy eating habits, exercise routines and managing their weight.
It’s hard: summer BBQ’s and refreshing cocktails followed by countless evening options for entertainment that seemingly always get in the way with your gym time.
Then there’s the urgency every week to tighten up our eating habits after we’ve had a few too many libations over the weekend. We oftentimes find ourselves feeling guilty for the overindulgence even though we enjoyed ourselves in the moment.
So, what do we do? How do we balance having an active social life that includes dining out and drinking with our goals of staying healthy, managing our weight and shape?
Throughout the seasons I’ve worked with with countless men and women on this exact thing a result, I’ve been able to narrow down the effective habits and strategies that enable you to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle while still having a social life and enjoying all that the season has to offer.
My top 8 time-friendly strategies for staying on track and keeping your waistline intact:
Prioritize weight based workouts. This increases your metabolism over time which in effect works as an excellent weight management tool for you; you’re burning fat even when you aren’t working out! Start with weight-based, full-body movements with 3-4 sets, and 12-15 reps with weight at approximately 60% of your full capacity. Build a solid foundation for the house of strength and it’ll be a life long supported choice of movement that not only keeps you strong but reduces the effects of aging on a cellular level by 10 years!
Take conversations away from the buffet table. Don’t make the mistake of hanging by the buffet or food line and chatting with your friends. If you stand within arms reach of food you’ll find yourself reaching over more often than not; fill up one plate and move away.
Pre-read menus to eliminate hangry, on the spot choices. We all do this: you’re excited to be visiting a trendy new restaurant so you pull up their menu online and look at their offerings. With practice, this makes a great preemptive planning habit that helps you make healthier food choices ahead of time VS on the spot when you’re hungry, distracted or straight-up hangry!
Schedule workouts in your calendar. The time we commit to working on our health is crucial; we owe it to ourselves and loved ones.
When we schedule our workouts in our calendars we make an appointment with ourself.
Undoubtedly, there will be situations that arise in which we have to choose to attend our meeting with ourselves or cancel and I tell my clients this; unless it’s a true meeting or you’ve already successfully rescheduled the workout for another time that day: no cancelling. This scheduling habit has helped dozens of my clients finally find the workout consistency they desire.
Ask yourself twice before walking back to the kitchen for another snack. Mindless snacking is a common struggle for many people. The good news is that mindless eating can easily be corrected with one simple strategy that’s easy to implement right away: be more aware of what you’re eating.
If you find yourself walking back to the kitchen for another handful (or two) of something pause for a second and ask yourself if: 1) am I still hungry or 2) am I stressed, anxious _____ (fill in the blank with whatever emotion you’re feeling).
For many: food equals feeling and we often associate feeling a certain way with what we’re eating. Comfort foods are real, y’all and most of us grew up in environments where certain foods were used to illicit specific feelings of happiness and joy.
Summer’s are ubiquitous with cold cocktails, corn on the cob and strawberry angel cake. There’s nothing wrong with this if we’re aware of what we’re eating and why we’re eating it.
When we take 2 seconds to pause and take emotional inventory before walking back into the kitchen we’re practicing mindfulness with our eating. Done regularly and this is one of the best methods to managing our waistlines without restrictive dieting practices.
Crock Pot Wednesdays or Food Delivery Thursdays: I’ve worked with enough people to know that a common struggle they face is the mid-week food slump: you’re out of food at home and tight on time as the week rushes by. Don’t make the decision on what to eat any harder: drive-thru’s and convenience foods are, well, convenient. I ask my clients to make sure they’ve got a kitchen set up for success which includes ingredients that can easily be thrown in a crock pot. Another option is to set up a weekly food delivery service that delivers meals ready-made or cooked in under 30 minutes!
Stay Realistic With Your Exercise Goals (and expectations). All it takes is 30 minutes, 4-5 days a week to stay fit this summer and fall. I also make sure my clients travel with hotel-friendly workouts so they can stay accountable to their workouts on the road. If you’re traveling this summer keep your workouts goals realistic: it’s probably not the best time to commit to doing a bikini show or 45 day cleanse.
Don’t go to the grocery store hungry. This one sounds simple enough, right? Imagine you’ve rushed through the work day and plan on stopping at the story on the way home. Trouble is: you’re hungry.
One of the worst things you can do to your waist-line is walk through a grocery store hungry: the brain sends signals to your body that you’re quite certainly going to starve if you don’t get the readily available (and no within eye-sight) sugars and starches.
Solution: 1) keep an emergency banana, bag of nuts or trail mix, protein bar or meat sticks readily available in the desk or car: munch on the way to the store. 2) go in armed with a shopping list and stick to it a) this saves you money while decreasing the likelihood of mindless buying.
That’s it. Staying in shape while enjoying all the adventures summer has to offer doesn’t have to be hard and it isn’t complicated. Try out just a few of the solutions mentioned above and you’ll find yourself feeling (and looking great) all summer and into fall!