It’s easy to let things go and consider each day a celebration or a break, especially during the dog days of summer when it feels way better to chill in the air conditioning then to work out in the heat. But summer time is swimsuit season, and you should not only want to look great, but feel great, too (even when you’re craving that ice cream or frozen coffee). Regardless of the time of year, it’s important to remember that each day is a gift to invest in your most valuable asset: you. Here are a few tips to help you to be the that best you that you can be this summer.
Staying hydrated during summer (even when you’re not active) is crucial. Your body loses more than a quart of water every day through perspiration, sweat, urine, and breath and on many days, it’s more than 2.5 quarts. When you’re active, it’s harder for your body to maintain its temperature in the summertime heat. Losing 1-4% of your body weight in water can cause a variety of complications such as causing your heart working harder, muscle cramps, feeling tired and potentially even heat stroke. Make a plan to keep yourself hydrated this summer and buy yourself a really big water bottle.
Treat Yourself Mindfully
It’s easy to give in at the neighbor’s barbecue or when your kids want to get an ice cream on a warm evening, but the calories definitely add up. Try to limit either the portion size or the frequency of your indulgences. Maybe a bite or two of things that tempt you can satisfy you at the party, or maybe you can only have that special treat one day a week. Replace these items with fresh, whole foods whenever possible and plan ahead. Mindless eating is a sure road to failure, while planning ahead will help you to achieve your goals. Fortunately there are healthy choices at most eateries, so choose well on the go.
It’s also critical to not only pay attention to what you eat but, what you drink. Watch out for the hidden sugar traps the next time you want a summer beverage – lemonade has 99 calories per glass and purchased sweetened iced tea contains 80 calories. Most commercial fruit juices are about 80 calories per 8 ounces with the same amount of sugar as a regular soft drink. Instead, reach for unsweetened iced tea or water flavored with fresh fruit, lemons, limes, cucumbers, or just a squeeze of fresh fruit juice diluted with sparkling water. A favorite in my house is to place strawberries, sliced ginger, lemons, and cucumbers in a big pitcher of water and keep it in the fridge. In adult beverages, there are also a good amount of calories. Typical drinks such as wine (ranging from 125-300 calories per glass), beer (90-175 calories per 12 oz.), and the colossal amount of calories in adult fruity beverages (600-800 calories) added with your food choices can keep you from hitting your eating plan goals.
It’s hard when lazy summer days leave us feeling listless or when busy schedules leave no time at the end of the day for ourselves. But each day that passes without meeting your fitness goals is a day lost towards feeling great. As in eating mindfully, moving mindfully is equally as important. Make a plan (even if it’s a simple one to walk around the block) and do it the best you can. If you are not hitting the gym five days a week, that’s okay. Start where you are and accept that something is better than nothing. Figure out what motivates you – maybe hang a calendar in your bathroom and put an “x” each time you reach your steps goal, reward yourself with a non-food treat like a massage, buy the best exercise outfit and shoes that you can to wear while exercising, or get an accountability partner – whatever helps you to invest in you.
Labor Day is not that far away, so put in the time and effort to invest in yourself so when that day comes, you can look back at summer and be proud of the choices you made to feel and look great.