Summer can be a difficult season to instill new habits and maintain good practice of the ones you seem to successfully do already. We go to cottages, camping, BBQs, patios, and festivals - all places where healthy habits are not always the first things on the list of priorities. I, too, struggle at certain times over the summer months balancing social fun and healthy habits of eating and exercise.
I don’t drink (no, not at all for those wondering), so the temptations to go out for drinks on a patio just don’t exist for me. However, eating is something I LOVE! This time of year I spend more time with my family at our cottage, which means my mom is buying treats and other things I wouldn’t typically buy at home. I also get thrown off my schedule coming back late on a Sunday or Monday and not prepared for the week’s meals. I decided to come up with my list of strategies for how I try to stay committed and happy in the summer, enjoying the company of loved ones, staying on track, but not getting caught up if things don’t go as planned.
- Plan your social week ahead. Not that I go out for drinks, but I find I go out to eat a lot, especially as the weather gets warmer. It isn’t because I don’t like to cook, but more for the socializing of getting together with friends. I determine my social plans for the week ahead - but trust me, it isn’t that extensive when you work most nights and early mornings - so that I can pick and choose my more extravagant meals.
- Go to markets to buy fresh and local. Although I have yet to make this a weekly thing, when local fresh produce is more readily available, we tend to munch on fruits and veggies, rather than chips and dip. That way, even if you have the urge to snack, your options are healthier.
- Offer to bring something. When invited camping, to a cottage, or to a BBQ, prepare a fresh salad or other dish that you love that is a healthier choice. This gives everyone a chance to enjoy a delicious meal without the guilt afterwards. It also ensures that for you personally, there will be at least one thing to eat that you know is a good healthy choice to put on your plate at the next potluck.
- Make movement a priority. Whether this means you register for my outdoor bootcamp or another fitness class the week ahead, you plan to go for a walk with your friends twice a week, or you hike a new trail, fitness doesn’t have to go on the back burner in the summer months. My favourite thing to do is incorporate my fun and social time with movement. For example, this weekend at our cottage I led a Zumba class! And my outdoor bootcamp will be a chance to connect with people during the week while providing them a place to move this summer.
Regardless of whom you are and what habits you practice, summertime is always a good time for healthy ones. Although the temptations can be high, when you plan smart and stay committed to your goals, you can have fun and feel good while doing it. The biggest thing I remind myself of, especially after a long weekend like the one that just passed, is to live in the moment. Enjoy the family and friends you are surrounded with, eat and drink, move and exercise, and don’t feel guilty about it. The tips above don’t happen every week for me, but I do the best I can. Sometimes certain habits are forgotten and others are practiced a little bit more, but life is still good; I am having a great time, and I remind myself of my goals and commitments. The fun days are not meant to be guilt-tripped days made up for at a later date. They are simply to be remembered and enjoyed while practicing the healthy habits you have created as much as you see fit.
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.