So you spent the entire Winter working hard to build a healthy, lean, and resilient body. You exercised consistently, you were careful to eat more healthy foods, and you watched your portion sizes.
So you would look great at the lake, beach, or pool and have plenty of energy to enjoy Summer. You greeted summer with a healthy, toned body with excitement and ready to strut your stuff. But summer, in spite of all the fun and relaxation it brings, can be tricky and deal us a cruel blow when it comes to our fitness.
Have you noticed the scale creeping up a little over the last couple of months? If so, you are not alone. Summer is a very easy time to overindulge and pick up those pounds that you shed during the winter months.Is that what you want though? Are you willing to undo all that you worked so hard to accomplish?
Remember that bad habits creep in slowly. Perhaps you are skipping your workouts a couple of days each week, because “You have so much to do.” Or maybe you have been indulging in unhealthy food or drinks a little more frequently when you are with friends. It happens little by little. It happens one small choice at a time. But those choices add up fast. If you realize that you have been slipping up, it’s not too late to turn around and get back on track. Really! There is still plenty of Summer left for you to regain whatever ground you might have lost and get back to awesome.
Here are a few common reasons that people gain weight in the Summer and how to remedy them.
1. Disrupted sleep cycle
Summer brings with it more daylight and longer days. This extra sunshine can cause our circadian rhythms to change which causes us to sleep less. But if we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies will respond by packing on a few extra pounds! The solution? Be diligent to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t underestimate a good quality night’s rest.
Here’s what you can focus on to have a better night’s sleep:
Sanctuary for Sleep
Treat your bedroom as a sanctuary from the stresses of the day. Meaning no Netflix, Facebook, Instagram and instead focus on creating a comfortable sleeping environment. A quality mattress and pillows go a long way to improve your sleep.
Get a new Mattress
Have you ever gone to a hotel and had the best sleep ever? They most likely have a higher end mattress that isn’t the same mattress you had eight years ago. According to a regional manager of a giant mattress company you want to buy a new mattress every 5-8 years, maybe it’s time for a new one?
Keep it Dark
Be sure your bedroom is dark when you go to bed and will stay dark until you get the sleep you need. You can use light-blocking curtains or shades.
Adjust the Temperature
Ever felt too hot too cold at night? Tossing and turning the entire night because of temperature is not the best strategy for restful sleep.
Find an old school book that doesn’t come on a tablet or iPad and read for about 20-30 minutes. Remember how long our parents took to get us ready for bed? They would give us a bath, read to us, cuddle us, this would almost take an hour! Now that we are adults we are trying to answer a last-minute email at 11 pm then try to shut off and go to sleep? No, that won’t work! Take some time for yourself at night.
2. THE HEAT
When it’s hot and humid, we tend to move around less. Our energy is lower and besides, who wants to sweat even more, right? But the less you move, the slower your metabolism is and the fewer calories you will burn. Be intentional about keeping up with your exercise.
Here’s what to do to beat the heat:
Search for Shade
Find activities in the shade, like going on a hike where the forest line will keep the temperature lower than being in direct sunlight.
Get a Fan
Keep a fan on you at all times at the house especially when cooking. Being beside a hot stove for an hour or two can really drain you and you’ll find yourself on the couch not moving and not motivated to go to Ora for a class 😉
Water, Water, Water
Pack your water with A LOT of ice!
Take a Cold Shower
You don’t need to take a hot shower at night. Taking a cold shower and allowing your skin temperature to go down just a little can make a big difference.
3. Summer Trips
Summer means travel and travel means healthy eating just got harder. Eating on the road presents significant challenges if you are trying to eat clean. Before your Summer trips, brainstorm some ways to reduce the amount of fast food that you will consume while you are away. Consider packing a cooler with hummus, nuts, lean proteins sources like chicken, fresh fruit and raw veggies.
Here are some places that are on the road that are healthier alternatives to greasy fast food:
Focus on lots of vegetables and more protein than carbs and cheese.
Salad and Lean Protein
Restaurants and diners that have salad and a lean source of protein on the menu.
Juice & Smoothies
Booster Juice or other protein shake restaurants.
4. Backyard Barbecues
Summer barbecues, parties, family reunions. All this spells danger because the food at these festivities is usually about as unhealthy as you can get! Make sure you pass on the hot dogs, potato salad, oily salad dressings, beer and chocolate-rich cakes. Look for grilled vegetables, fresh fruit and lean cuts of meat prepared without greasy marinades.
Don’t let the Summer creep undo all the hard work you’ve done to get you where you are right now. Decide to fight back. Make up your mind to finish well this Summer. Your future self will thank you!