It can be very difficult not to overindulge during the summer months when friends are inviting you to barbecues, ice cream treats are prevalent and you’d rather sip a cold beer or Chardonnay on the patio than a cleansing ginger tonic.
The good news is there is a way to enjoy all the deliciousness that the summer has to offer without gaining 15 pounds of excess weight and immeasurable guilt.
Here are some simple, effective tricks to help you avoid overindulging this summer season.
Enjoy fruits and salads
There’s nothing quite like the smell of a barbecue on a warm summer’s evening. But what we might forget is that aside from hot dogs and hamburgers on the barbecue, there are innumerable vegetables and fruits in season that are delicious when grilled. Try mixing kale with a bit of balsamic vinegar and oil and putting that on the BBQ – the resultant kale chips are delicious and incredible good for you. Alternatively try pineapple slices. And there’s nothing more refreshing than a delicious salad using greens fresh from the farm to your plate.
Watch your alcohol intake
Cold bottles of beer and glasses of wine are ubiquitous during the summer months but remember these beverages are full of sugar (including hard alcohol) contributing to your fat cells and taxing your liver. Alcohol is also depressant and can add to feelings of stress and if you drink too close to bedtime it can interfere with a good night’s sleep. We’re not proposing complete abstinence but remember to drink lots of water and change up your beverage choices with homemade ginger tonic, which is extremely refreshing, or lemonade and iced tea (just avoid putting too much sugar in them).
The best part about summer is the days are long and the weather is warm, meaning you can easily get out of the gym and enjoy the outdoors. Instead of the treadmill, go for a walk in a local park. Do your morning yoga routine on a balcony or in the backyard. Spend a few weekends out of the city and in nature – studies have proven that being surrounded by a natural environment has positive impacts on your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Stick to your meal times
Although it’s wonderful to have longer days during the summer months, it can also be more tempting to eat later in the evening. This has a negative impact because our bodies tend to store those extra calories as fat especially if we don’t do anything active after consumption. It’s best to stick to your regular meal times but if you do eat later, be sure to exercise afterwards, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block.
Maintain your sleep habits
Again, longer days means nighttime comes later and we’re encouraged to stay up and socialize. Our ancestors also stayed up later working on the farm or hunting and gathering but they also spent more time enjoying a siesta in the heat of the afternoon. Remember, our bodies need a minimum of seven hours sleep to function at an optimal level. If you stay up late and wake up early, consider taking a nap in the afternoon to allow for that lost sleep. At the very least, spend some time meditating in the afternoon so your mind and body can relax and recuperate.
Don’t over-schedule yourself
With the kids out of school it can be challenging not to get caught up in soccer games, play dates and barbecues in between our work hours. Be sure to put time aside for yourself, even if it’s just for 20 minutes a day or one weekend a month. It will help you focus on what’s most important: you.