Summer. The official season of “real” excuses to eat junk food and lay around. The heat, the camping, the family and friends visiting, the kids home from school. You have a summertime excuse, I’ve heard it. I’ve, in most cases, used the same excuses.
The late part of June and the first half of July were well, gluttonous, to say the least. I drank whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I ate the same way. Workouts were done with half an effort if done at all. By the middle of July I felt terrible, had very little energy and didn’t want my photo taken because, well, my confidence and self-love had plummeted.
It was time for me to get back on the bandwagon. It was time for me to start fueling my body the way it deserves, move my body the way it wants to move and hydrate (that means with water, not Palm Bays) the way it needs to be hydrated.
Here’s the thing: I’m a fitness professional, so I know how to get myself back on track. Typically, you’ll see posts about getting back into your routine in September. But listen, that’s a month away. If you went off the rails in July, why the heck are you waiting until September? That’s weeks and weeks away! You are going to feel terrible, worse than terrible in another month!
It’s time for you to remember the purpose of physical activity and eating nutritiously. The purpose isn’t to lose weight, lose inches, look good in a bikini (you look amazing, by the way, no matter what size you are). The purpose of exercise and healthy eating is to give you energy, to respect your body, to build your own self-confidence.
If you’re feeling lethargic, if you’re self-deprecating every time you put your shorts on, if you just feel “gross”…baby, it’s time to re-focus and get back on track. Don’t wait until September, that’s ridiculous, that’s weeks and weeks away. If you feel awful today because of what consumed in July, just think of how awful you could feel if you keep on this path for 4 more weeks.
There are things you can start doing today to help you feel better in five days. Honest. In five days, if you do even some of the suggestions below, you’ll have more energy, you’ll sleep better and in a month you’ll be so grateful that you started now and didn’t wait.
1) Up your water game. Treat yourself to a new water bottle and focus on water intake. Make a jug of ginger, mint lemon water every evening, pop it in the fridge and make sure it’s gone by the end of the next day. Typically, when you go off the fitness and nutrition rails, you send yourself into chronic dehydration. Summertime heat will also wreak havoc on your hydration levels, so it’s time to fill up on water. Not only will it hydrate, but it’s going to help fill you up, because baby, it’s time to stop the snack attacks.
2) Stop eating whatever you want! Alright, this may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to stop giving yourself permission to put food in your mouth. Stop telling yourself that it’s summertime and ice cream every day is fine. Stop telling yourself that 5 smores is okay because you’re camping. It’s not okay. So stop it. Stop giving yourself permission to poison your body. Your goal now is to have periods of 2 hours where you’re not putting anything in your mouth except water. Every two hours you’re going to have a healthy meal or snack. But there MUST be 2 hours where no food passes your lips.
3) Say “no” to alcohol. I know, I know, it’s summertime and it’s hot and there’s nothing better than a cool drink after work or around the campfire. I get it. But, knock it off. Limit alcohol intake to two days per week. Each drink you have adds anywhere from 150 – 600 calories (oh yeah baby that 10oz margarita you’ve been having has over 550 calories) to your daily caloric intake. Again, stop giving yourself permission to drink. Choose two days per week that you’ll have your favorite summertime beverage and stick to those days. The other days, you drink water.
4) Commit to moving your body. Sit down and decide how many time you’re going to commit to exercise per week. I realize summer is busy and schedules are a little nutty, but you need to carve out time for exercise. You can find super quick (I’m talking less than 30 minutes) workouts that are effective and fun. I recommend you shoot for at least 3 workouts per week but I encourage you to shoot for 5. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends 60 minutes of physical activity per day seven days a week. Yes, seven. But, I don’t want to overwhelm you. So for August, shoot for 3-5 days of being physically active. We’ll get to 7 in September.
5) Find a fitness challenge. Sometimes all you need is a challenge to reset your focus. There are lots of fitness challenges out there to choose from but I find that if you commit to a fitness challenge, the daily reminder to get your butt moving and doing something active each day helps focus the mind on staying healthy and active. Hot Mama’s 28-Day Challenge is a good place to start; it includes a lower body, an upper body and a little cardio. Remember, for most challenges the goal is to complete the number of reps, so you don’t need to do all the reps at one. Break up the challenge throughout your day and modify the exercise so you’re doing them correctly to prevent injury!
Living a healthy lifestyle just feels better. Food is meant to nourish and energize, but it can only do that if you’re eating the healthy stuff. Your body is meant to move, so move it! Stop giving yourself permission to be a glutton and focus on the benefits of physical activity and a balanced diet. If you commit to the above five recommendations, you’ll absolutely feel better in as little as 5 days.