BBQ’s, patios, sunshine and good times. Summer is a time to enjoy the weather and spend quality time with family and friends. It’s also a time to shed our winter layers and show some skin! Unfortunately too much of the first can make the second a bit of a challenge. So how can you enjoy your summer and still rock your bathing suit? With these tips you can have the best of both world this summer!
1. Go easy on the alcohol! I may have started this list with the most difficult challenge, but to be completely honest, alcohol is your worst enemy if you are trying to lose body fat. Getting tipsy lowers our inhibitions and can cause us to make poor food choices. What’s more, alcohol is metabolized by your body like a poison, which means as long as it’s in your system your body will prioritize metabolizing and getting rid of it! To make a complicated physiological process simple – as long as you have alcohol in your system your body can’t burn fat. So, keeping that in mind, don’t over do it this summer. For every alcoholic beverage have some water to keep you hydrated and allow your body time to process the alcohol. I would also limit your drinking to one or two days a week. This gives your body several days in between to maintain a normal metabolism and burn fat. If you have a drink nearly every day that doesn’t leave much time for fat burning. Pick and choose where you want to indulge and enjoy water flavoured with fruit or unsweetened iced tea the rest of the time. Going to a party and don’t want to deal with people constantly asking you why you aren’t drinking? I can understand how annoying it is and would rather avoid the topic myself, so I will often just have a soda water with a splash of cranberry juice. It keeps me hydrated and for all the alcohol pushers know it’s a vodka cranberry!
2. Explore healthier options for your favourite summer foods. Love a good burger? Can’t imagine summer without ice cream? Most of our favourite hot weather treats can be made in a healthier way. Check out new recipes and spend some time experimenting in the kitchen. This will allow you to get the taste you crave more often, while still being able to indulge in the real thing guilt free occasionally. Sometimes I even end up liking my cleaned up version better than the original!
3. Get outside and enjoy the weather! Now that’s it’s enjoyable to be outside, get out there and get moving! Bike to work, go for walks on your lunch break, or pick up a new sport. If your friends always like to get together on a patio for drinks, suggest going to a park to play frisbee instead. You can still hit a patio after, but at least you will have gotten some activity in first!
4. Still keep an eye on the scale and pay attention to how your clothes feel. Now I don’t think you should be a slave to the scale, but don’t throw it out the window altogether either. Those pounds can creep up on you and it’s far better to catch it at 5 pounds gained and take that as a cue to refocus on your plan than to tell yourself you will worry about it in the fall and have it be 15 to 20 pounds by then.
5. Don’t skip your workouts. A regular workout schedule, especially one that includes regular weight lifting, will help keep your metabolism burning. Summer can be a time of increased indulgences so don’t work against yourself by slowing your metabolism because of missing workouts!
6. Make a plan for special events. Don’t leave your goals up to chance. If you are being served a meal that you have no control over (like at a wedding) eat a healthy meal before you go so you aren’t starving. Eat slowly, sipping water in between bites to fill you up faster. Just have a taste or two of more indulgent dishes and leave the rest. If you are going to a buffet or a BBQ where you can fill your own plate I still advise eating a healthy meal before you go. Then, when you are faced with the temptation to pile your plate high, you will be able to think with your head and not your stomach. Fill at least half of your plate with fruits and veggies and choose lean protein sources. Take a small portion of special foods that you love, like potato salad or desserts. Once you have filled your plate, get away from the buffet! Go sit somewhere and slowly enjoy your meal. Get rid of your plate when you are done so you aren’t tempted to go for seconds. Whatever you do, don’t hang out by the food where you will mindlessly snack and have no idea what you have eaten! The goal here is to fill up on what you know is good for you and either avoid the unhealthy food altogether, or just have small portions that you really savor and enjoy.
7. Be realistic about your goals. If you plan on indulging more often in the summer, then you may need to adjust your expectations about your fitness goals. Perhaps you have been losing weight up until now and think that even if you partake of some summer festivities you should still be able to see progress? Unfortunately you will likely have to choose. But that’s ok! There is nothing wrong with focusing on maintenance instead of weight loss for a while if that is what you want to do. But if you do want to continue to see progress then you will have to reign it in a bit this summer. Decide what you want to do and make a plan or readjust your expectations. This will allow you an enjoyable, stress and guilt free summer that doesn’t result in once again having to get back on the wagon in the fall.
This article was researched and written by Follow @DaraCoxPT
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