Long, cold winters sometimes result in extra pounds creeping on to our frames, with the sweatshirt often becoming the fashion statement we rely on to camouflage the unsightly results. While being sedate during the winter can result in weight gain, personal experience has taught me that summertime, too, can just as quickly derail your fitness and weight loss efforts.
Summer is a wonderful and carefree time that’s traditionally filled with graduation and summer parties, barbecues and visits to the beaches and boardwalks – with each one tempting you with their delightfully tasty – and often high calorie – treats. As much fun as all of those parties and BBQs can be, they have the potential to erode your self-control and threaten your diet discipline. After you indulge, your minor relapse may feel like a huge failure that could lead you to decide to abandon your efforts until the fall. Trust me when I tell you that’s a bad idea! Here are a few tips to keep you on track all summer long.
Always prepare for your trips. Vacations and daily trips to the beach can mean a full day of delicious drinks, rich foods and a lot of R&R in the sun (aka inactivity). Although you should occasionally treat yourself for all the hard work you put into staying fit, don’t succumb to full-blown dietary mayhem.
One easy thing you can do if you’re taking a day trip is to prepare all your foods in advance. You can avoid the temptation of those potentially unhealthy foods at the shore by taking along healthier snacks items like fresh fruit, raw vegetables, low-sugar meal replacement bars and nutritious lunch options.
Another good tip - especially when you’re away from home - is to start every day with exercise. This could take the form of an early morning walk, swimming a few laps in a pool or a workout at the local gym. Starting your day with exercise is a smart option that will help you from being seduced by the siren call of those high calorie summer treats.
Keep track of your progress. With all of the commotion, hustle and bustle of summer, it can be easy to lose track of the progress you’ve made towards achieving your goals. My suggestion is to maintain a journal of all of your daily activity and food habits, writing down your weight once per week and accurately listing every item you consume each day. Log all of your exercise activity, too, which will help you to keep your fitness goals fresh in your mind. By the end of the summer you’ll be amazed by how much progress you actually made while still having plenty of summer fun.
Try to do a little bit every single day. Participating in marathon workouts (or whatever you may perceive that to be) is the last thing we want to be doing on a beach day. Here’s a tip - short and sweet - that will keep you motivated when it comes to your gym efforts during the summer months.
Make your workouts brief, but increase the intensity from your usual routine. You can achieve this by lifting slightly heavier weight or by increasing the pace of your morning run. That way, you’ll be building sand castles earlier while still providing your body with a helpful metabolic jolt that will continue burning calories and help keep the pounds off.
Remember how far you’ve come. I don’t enjoy waking up in the morning and realizing I threw away three months of progress during 48 hours of complete insanity. Lazy summer days spent with family and friends creates a relaxing atmosphere where we often put up our guard when it comes to all of the calorie-laden summer treats that tempt us to stray from our diets. If you’re not aware of your situation, a chip here, a dip there and a few of those cool and sweet summer cocktails just might bring an abrupt halt to your fitness gains.
Be ever mindful of all the hard work you’ve done getting trimmer, stronger and faster. This will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and empowerment that can’t be rivaled by that creamy piece of cake or that tasty smothered hot dog. Even if you’re just starting your weight loss program, remember how much strength and will power it took to get you started. Keeping your eye on the prize allows you to succeed while avoiding disappointment and despair. Never stop feeling proud of how much you’ve gained over the time you’ve devoted to your fitness and weight loss efforts.
Staying on track during the summer can be tricky and challenging, so having the right tools and the proper mindset that you need to achieve your goals will help you to keep it all going. Remember to always plan ahead, be aware of your fitness plan and try not to put yourself in a place where you’ll be sorry later. Play by these summer rules and I guarantee that you’ll be better prepared this summer – and you’ll look good doing it!