It is HOT in Southern Ontario right now. We are in the dog days of summer, but we still have weeks of glorious warm weather left!
When it comes to healthy eating and weight gain; mid-summer can be tricky for a few reasons:
1. We’ve lost our motivation from Spring & early Summer that comes as a result of being cooped up inside for months wearing multiple layers of clothing.
2. Warm weather = we drink more alcohol = extra calories. Sitting on a dock by the lake, sitting in front of a campfire, chilling out by the pool, going for a boat-ride, a backyard BBQ, weddings…they all lend themselves to ideal situations for a cold glass of white wine or a beer.
3. Camping & cottage food. Most of us living in Southern Ontario take a summer vacation that involves camping or cottaging and unfortunately that usually means quick, easy, not-so-healthy meals & snacks: hot dogs, sausages, burgers, chips, ice cream, s’mores, appies…
So how do we avoid the mid-summer healthy eating lapse? Here are some tips to stay fit and healthy this summer:
1. When it comes to motivation keep in mind that there are weeks of summer left, and you want to continue to feel & look your best, which means continuing to put in the effort to exercise and eat healthy. The hard truth is that weight maintenance requires the same amount of effort as weight loss. This means if looking & feeling your best is important to you; it’s always going to require effort to remain at your comfortable weight and live a healthy lifestyle. Motivation really shouldn’t ebb & flow with the seasons or up-coming events. Coming to terms with this truth may put you in a better state of mind to make healthy eating & exercise part of your weekly routine (I recommend some kind of interval training 3x per week).
2. When is comes to alcohol the 80/20 rule is key. An average woman should be consuming 4-6 drinks per week, and the average male 7-9 drinks (a drink being 6 oz. of wine, a bottle of beer and a standard shot of spirits). This, and implementing the rule of no drinks during the week (Monday – Thursday, I consider Friday the weekend) can help you keep your alcohol consumption down.
If you feel like something other than water, sometimes all it takes is a change of texture. There are plenty of options out there now for naturally flavored sparkling water (PC Blue Menu and Perrier). Flavors like grapefruit, lime and pomegranate are very refreshing served over ice on a hot afternoon. And of course making your own fresh, fruit-flavored water is a great option. Try interesting flavor combos like ginger & pineapple, watermelon, cucumber & mint or peach & vanilla.
3. Enjoying treats while on summer vacation is one of the joys in life that can’t be missed. A s’more or hot-dog roasted on the camp-fire. A juicy hamburger on a warm summer evening. Chips with a cold beer. A cold ice cream cone on the drive back from the cottage. How do you enjoy treats while on vacation, but avoid the inevitable weight gain, bloating, gas and lethargy that goes with them? This could be an entire post unto itself so here a few quick strategies:
– Choose one treat per day. If you go into the day knowing that you have one treat to play with you may think twice about that cookie after lunch or grazing the appie table before dinner.
– Do something active everyday. The great thing about summer vacations is there are plenty of options for outdoor exercise: kayaking, swimming, hiking or biking.
– Make your “treats” healthy. Choose healthy snacking options, fake your ice-cream by blending frozen bananas or pineapple, slim down your guacamole or include apple & cucumber slices as vehicles for cheese and hummus instead of crackers.
– Opt for high-quality meats; nitrite-free hot dogs & sausages (available at health food store), and free-from burgers (PC)
– Watch your portions. A portion of meat should be the size of your palm, a fist-size of carbs and half your plate should be veggies. A cool product that can help you stick to proper portion sizes is the Skinny Plate. Fill the quadrants with lean protein, whole grains and vegetables, lift and voila! You’re left with the proper portions of food on your plate.
Hopefully these tips will help you stay motivated and get back on track when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy the rest of the summer!