Can you believe it's here? Per usual, summer has crept up, leaving us wishing we had stuck to our New Year's resolutions and promises to eat cleaner in order to be lookin' our best in our favorite bikini (or swim trunks, boys). With summer comes cookouts, country concerts, festivals, casual get-togethers, and basically any excuse to throw a party. Although summer is when the pressure is on to look your best, it is also the time when temptations are at their highest - heavy beers, brats, burgers, and even the late night grazing in your pantry. Although it may seem too late to get that fit summer bod, I'm here to tell you that it's never too late to get focused with the help of these 5 simple tips and tricks.
1. Find your routine
If you spend too much time figuring out your workout regimen, soon enough it's August and you're left wishing you stuck to that one workout you really enjoyed. Everyone is different so don't feel guilty if your workout style doesn't match that ripped, 6-pack lady from across the pool. For me, I enjoy kickboxing in the summer with a lot of running outdoors. I use summer as a time to up my cardio because that's how I feel my body best reacts. If your workout regimen isn't giving you the results you want right now, change it. Spend that extra $10/month on another workout facility- I promise it's worth it. If you're working a 9-5 job, try going to bed earlier and making it to the gym by 7. If you're not a morning person, pack a workout bag to bring so you don't have to stop by the house on your way to the gym.
2. Cut the sugars and simple carbs
If there's one thing I've learned from giving up sweets for lent, it's that I'm not missing out. It's amazing what your body can do for you when you cut out sugar. I felt more energized even with less sleep. Feeling less foggy in the head, and the 7 lb. weight loss wasn't too bad either. So why is sugar so bad for you? First off, it has zero nutritional value; meaning it does absolutely nothing for us other than that 2 minutes of satisfaction leaving us craving more. This happens because sugar reacts with the brain the same way drugs do. When you eat sugar, the reward system in your brain lights up and releases feel-good brain chemicals (dopamine and serotonin); these are our "happy hormones." The same happens when you take drugs because your body then craves the initial high you first experienced. You are addicted to that feeling so every time you consume sugar, you want it more and more. The key to giving up sugar? Find an incentive. My incentive happened to be religion because it came at the time of Lent, but if your incentive is to lose that 5, 10, 15, even 20 lbs., use mindfulness. When you pick up that sugar-filled donut, look at it, think about your goals and how it can set you back, then put it back down. Mindfulness is key when it comes to resisting those sweet treats. I'm not here preaching that in order to lose weight you must never eat sweets again, just use moderation :)
3. Acknowledge that drinking alcohol typically leads to overeating
A lot of people have a perception that drinking alcohol is the reason they are packing on the pounds. While this isn't 100% false, a big reason people gain weight when they drink is due to overeating that typically follows. Heavy beers and sugary drinks will alone make you gain weight, so remember to always stick to light beers, wine, and mix drinks without the excess sugar. You can read more about choosing the right alcohol in my post Here. As far as the late night snacking goes, my motto is "out of sight, out of mind." If you're hosting a get-together that involves alcohol paired with hors d'oeuvres, wait until everyone seems to be finished, then package them up and throw them in the fridge. Keep the veggie tray and light crackers on the table in case someone gets hungry and needs something to munch on. Chances are, no one will be reaching for the snacks because they're hungry, they're letting the alcohol make the decisions.
4. Keep your motivation high!
I looove a good reward system. You hit that goal weight or ran that extra mile, treat yo' self! Here's where people go wrong- they treat themselves with high-fat, high-sugar indulgences. This typically leads to one going off track and may possibly lead to a full-on binge. I don't treat myself with food because I don't like backtracking on my progress. Instead, buy that pair of lulu's you've been eyeing or purchase a massage to keep yourself relaxed and motivated. Create goals for yourself and never hesitate to give yourself a pat on the back for reaching them!
5. Remember that changes don't happen overnight
It can be hard to change up your workout regimen or eating habits from what you're used to. Take it easy on yourself and don't get frustrated if you don't go from eating mac & cheese and pasta to grilled chicken and vegetables overnight. They say it takes about 21-28 days to make a habit (obviously dependent on the person), so make that day 1 today!!