I remember that day like it was yesterday: the summer heat was over, and I traded my seasonal stretchy skirts for jeans. It soon became apparent that summery, stretchy skirts hide a multitude of pounds, because I had to jump around like Kriss Kross to get my jeans over my hips, and the button, once fastened, was threatening to burst off and become a lethal weapon.
Maybe it’s the sudden burst of heat in a Canadian summer, maybe it’s the lazy unscheduled days. In my case, likely it’s also the acceptability of drinking fruity, boozy drinks anytime. Whatever the reason, keeping to healthy eating and a fitness routine in the summer can be a challenge. Here are my personal tips to keep healthy and active this summer, and to be able to fit into those tight jeans and non-elastic-waist pants come fall.
We all have our weaknesses, and mine is definitely “chips.” During the summer, with all the requisite social functions and associated eating, know what you can and cannot resist, and plan for it. I can, for example, happily eat one chocolate, but if I have one chip I turn into this:
So I try to avoid the chip bowl, is what I’m saying.
Give Me All The Fresh Produce And No One Gets Hurt
Say HELLO NURSE to the farmer’s markets, because after months and months of squash, bananas, and other wintry produce, we have berries! Repeat: we have berries! Eat your fill of fresh berries, and while you’re at it, enjoy all those wonderful vegetables that are in season. ‘Tis the season to eat your colours! Fill up on nature’s candy and you won’t even have room for the chips!
Unless they are KALE CHIPS, of course.
Go Out And Play!
Summer is the perfect time to get back on the saddle – the bike saddle, that is. Take a bike ride, go for a long walk, and while the kids are at the park, don’t just hang out on the bench – play with them. You’ll burn calories and have fun at the same time. Jump in the pool and splash around with the kids; even if you haven’t swam laps since high school, you’ll love how being in the water is a total body workout. Plus, your kids will always remember that day Mom jumped off the diving board with them. But trust me on this – make sure your swimsuit top is SECURELY on. Trust me.
Are you one of those people who hate the heat? Can’t bear the thought of walking down the block in all this heat to get the mail, much less go for a brisk run? Here’s a secret: gyms are DEAD in the summer. This is the perfect opportunity to try that spin class you’ve always wanted to, but were too intimidated by the crowds to attempt it.
Remember: You Can’t Outrun A Bad Diet
Oof, this is a hard one.
Exercise is great! We love exercise! (Kind of…)
But exercise cannot take the place of a good diet. Unless you are Michael Phelps, you do need to watch what you eat. Here’s a depressing-but-true example: let’s say you kill it on the elliptical trainer for thirty minutes. Chances are you burned around 300 calories – which is great! Fantastic! Except that a Venti Mocha Frappucino is more than 300 calories, and that family-sized bag of chips? You don’t even want to know. Don’t undo all your hard work in one sitting.
Booze: My Other Weakness
Speaking of undoing all your hard work in one sitting, did you know that one Palm Bay has 220 calories? That doesn’t sound so bad, but when you’ve had *cough* a few, it really adds up. Frozen margaritas can easily be over 500 calories each – eek! Practice moderation and your waistline – and your morning-after self – will thank you.
Two Four Six Eight, Everybody Hydrate!
But Palm Bay *is* hydrating, right?
We all know that we need to be drinking lots of water every day, but in the summer, we need to increase that intake. This is especially true if you are taking my advice and playing outside in the heat – you need to replenish those fluids lost from sweaty playtime and exercise. Dehydration leads to fatigue, and it’s also easy to mistake thirst for hunger pangs. Fill up a pretty water bottle and make sure you drain it a few times a day. Add some of those farmer’s market berries, or a few slices of lemon or lime, if plain water doesn’t appeal to you.
Summer is short in Canada; get out there and enjoy it – and burn a few calories while you’re at it.