The sound of kids playing outside, the familiar smell of a barbecue, the temptation for ice cream… these all point to one thing: summer! While summer is arguably the best time of year, it also poses challenges for many of us in our fitness and nutrition journeys. For a variety of reasons, staying on track in the summer can be much more difficult than other times of the year. Things like going on vacation, dinner parties, spending the day at the beach, and barbecues can pose challenges that do not arise in other times of the year. Because of these temptations, it is common to want to take the summer off. At first glance, this may seem like a win-win: you can enjoy all the things that summer has to offer ‘guilt-free’, and get back on track in the fall! However, unfortunately, reality does not quite work that way, as you might expect (womp womp). While it is (very!) important to enjoy the summer months, it is equally as important to stay on track— your future, autumn self will thank you! Here are some reasons why maintaining and not gaining is your best plan of attack for the summer time.
Taking the summer off changes your mindset from lifestyle to diet.
The premise of Simply For Life is that it is a lifestyle, not a quick-fix! If you decide to take a break from that lifestyle, it may feel more like a diet when you return to it. If you need to, make small adjustments throughout the summer, but keep the overall lifestyle the same.
It may reverse all the progress you’ve made so far.
If you take the summer off, there is a chance that you will take some major steps backward in your nutritional and/or fitness journey. Then, after the summer, you will simply be repeating the progress you’ve already made— you’ll be catching back up instead of continuing to move forward. As we like to say, ‘don’t let your vacation put your health back to work’!
You made the habits, don’t break ‘em!
This goes hand-in-hand with reason #2—you’ve made progress with your habit formations as well! Any fitness and nutrition journey is largely mental—changing your lifestyle and habits is no easy feat. Think about the differences in your day-to-day life now compared to before you started; if you take the summer off, you may completely revert to your old ways.
You’ll feel better.
Think about how you feel right now. Now think about how you felt before you started this journey. You’re doing some pretty amazing things for yourself right now, and how you feel (physically and mentally) is a reflection of that. Your body will react to any major changes that you make to your diet, and you will likely feel accordingly. Therefore, if you start to incorporate less than great food continuously into your diet, you will definitely feel less than great!
Cravings, cravings, cravings!
Depending on where you’re at in your health journey, you may have noticed that you’re not craving some of the foods that you used to. If you go back to eating (or drinking!) these foods, your body will want more. This may result in having to cleanse and phase these foods out for a second (or third) time. Do yourself a favour and stick to the plan, while allowing yourself treats and rewards instead of completely reverting back to old habits.
Don’t deviate from structure.
As humans, we crave a certain amount of structure. This structure enables us to be productive and stay on track. However, many of us need some accountability to stick to our routine. This is where your nutritional consultant will come into play—they will provide you with the tools to stick to your plan and provide a source of accountability throughout the summer. As we know, once we get ‘off the rails’, it’s harder to get back on the train!
Practice makes progress.
Like anything in life, a healthy lifestyle takes practice. The more you work on it, the easier it becomes. Unfortunately, it’s not the same as riding a bike—if you stop practicing, you won’t just be able to pick it back up and continue like you never stopped. If you take a lengthy break, your progress will not only come to a halt, but it will likely reverse. Keep practicing and you will keep progressing!
Maintain don’t gain.
You may need to acquire this mentality throughout the summer. Stay on track, but allow yourself small treats. Even if you don’t lose any weight over the summer, it’s better than taking the summer off completely. As my old gymnastics coach used to say, it’s all about balance!
Have an excellent summer!