Tips for how to lose weight, and enjoy life, this summer
However much you enjoy the warmer months, summer can be a daunting time for those of us on a weight-loss journey. If you haven’t yet reached your goal weight or body shape, the thought of donning skimpy summer dress may be nerve-wracking. Plus, there are all the Christmas parties with yummy food and drink on offer that you might have been trying to avoid…
But, turn this fear around: summer is a great time to double-down on your weight-loss efforts because of all the opportunities the season provides. Read on for some summer weight loss inspiration.
Take your workout outdoors
If you dislike working out in a sweaty gym or feel embarrassed joining others in a group exercise class, summer outdoor workout options might be right up your street. An outdoor workout, especially in a beautiful natural setting like a beach or a park, can also be great for your mental health.
Warmer weather means beaches and pools are more tempting in the summer than at any other time of year. Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise and can help tone your arms and upper body in particular. And because many of us associate splashing in the sea with good fun and happy times, you’ll hardly feel like you’re having an outdoor workout!
Hiking through shady forest can be a pleasant respite from summer heat. Many towns and cities have well-maintained tracks. Try to include a hill or two in your hike for a stronger workout. Turn hiking into a family activity can kill two birds with one stone, keeping the kids occupied during the summer holidays while meeting your exercise needs!
With longer daylight hours in the summer, there are no excuses for not getting some morning or evening exercise in, either. Get up a bit earlier and walk or bike to work, if you can, while the early morning air is still fresh and cool. Or, take a relaxing after-dinner walk.
Just don’t forget the sunscreen and hat, as well as plenty of water, when embarking on an outdoor workout in the summer.
Embrace your body
Wherever you’re at in your weight-loss journey, you have the right to feel proud of your accomplishments and the hard work it takes to make important lifestyle changes. You might have heard this tongue-in-cheek saying:
Question: How do you get a bikini body?
Answer: Put your body in a bikini.
This means that whatever your physical size or shape is right now, you should embrace it and wear whatever you want. If the weather is hot and you want to spend time at the beach in a swimsuit, go for it! An ideal bikini body is your body, in a bikini, if that makes you feel good! The same goes for short shorts, spaghetti-strap tops or floating summer dresses. You are probably your own biggest critic, and nobody else will be paying attention to whatever flaws you think you have.
Feel good about yourself as you are right now and enjoy the process of becoming healthier and fitter. Use any lingering self-doubts you may have as motivation to eat well and exercise more.
One great advantage of the summer is that many fresh fruits and vegetables are in season, making it cheaper and easier to load your diet full of nutrient-rich foods. A balanced, varied summer diet is one of the healthiest there is.
Look for fruits and vegetables that have been grown close to home, as these are likely to be freshest. In fact, they might have only just been picked! This is good advice to follow throughout the year, but is easiest in the warmer months when orchards and vegetable fields spring to life.
Eat smart at parties and gatherings
Summer coincides with the Christmas and New Year’s party season in the Southern Hemisphere. We have ample opportunities to enjoy family barbecues, picnics and al fresco dining as well as school and work Christmas parties throughout the summer. But, these can make sticking to a healthy eating plan a bit of a challenge.
Many people swing from one extreme to the other, either giving up on their diet (at least, temporarily) or sticking to it religiously. Giving up can make it even more difficult to get back on the wagon in the new year, but strictly sticking to a diet might mean missing out on fun with family and friends. Socialising and sharing conversation and laughs over good food and drink is good for your mental wellbeing, which can help keep your motivation high.
A balanced approach to summer parties is likely to be more appropriate for most people on a healthy lifestyle plan. Accept that a bit of indulgence is part of the season, but that you don’t need to go wild.
When you’re hosting a party yourself, ensure that you prepare healthy options for yourself (and like-minded guests) alongside calorie-dense cakes or meats. When you’re a guest, gravitate towards fruit platters rather than trifles, and opt for a wine spritzer rather than a rum and cola. When attending a pot-luck party, take something aligned with your preferences so at least you can fall back on that if there aren’t any other diet-friendly options at the party. At barbecues, take some veggies sausages or veggie patties to avoid fatty meats, and opt for fresh salads over mayonnaise-dense potato salads.
Your healthy lifestyle journey should evolve with the seasons, and summer is one of the most joyous of all. Approach it with a balanced mindset and your New Year’s resolutions should be a breeze to stick to.