Sun is out and summer is officially here, which means many of you may be spending hours at the gym or juicing to look your best in your swimwear. Let’s put an end to this! Indulging in a soft serve cone or margaritas on the beach is the enjoyment that summer brings and with the right company, bring memories that last a lifetime. The keyword for this summer is moderation and a great way to practice a healthy lifestyle! You may crave to have an entire funnel cake with powdered sugar and whipped cream, that doesn’t mean you need to have it at all or nothing. It is all about moderation. If you’re out at a party and the hosts are offering cake, but you also ate something on the heavier side for dinner, then perhaps indulge in a couple of bites instead of having the entire slice of cake or nothing at all. Alternatively, consider substituting a heavy meal for a healthier dinner option to balance the cookie sundae you’re waiting to have at later. It is important to remember that health is not a diet. Health is a lifestyle that we can achieve by finding a balance between over-indulging and completely restricting yourself from these little pleasures.
Another way to find balance is incorporating an exercise routine. Find an activity that you enjoy, invite friends, and make it fun. Some like hiking, others prefer 2 hours at a crossfit gym or boxing, but it doesn’t stop there. There are other activities that people don’t necessarily engage in with the primary intent to exercise, such as dance classes, surfing, or mountain climbing. The point is to find something and make sure you are having fun. Remaining active helps promote overall health, with improvements in mindfulness and awareness of your body functions, energy, cognitive clarity, and mood! An added bonus to remaining active is feeling less guilty at your next summer BBQ when you opt for those extra bites or alcoholic beverage. Remaining mindful of moderation and balance by continuing your exercise routine and eating healthy throughout the week will allow you to have fun and eat with pleasure on weekends.
Other ways to promote a healthier lifestyle is understanding how the foods we eat affect our bodies. Certain foods have different effects on our digestive system and may cause digestive problems, bloat, and many other discomforts. What we eat can also affect our mood, not to mention sleep! And you can’t live a healthy lifestyle without sleep. Educate yourself on what types of food are high in sugar versus protein because simply choosing the wrong dinner option can actually affect the quality of sleep you’d get at night. Both cross-sectional and epidemiologic studies have shown people who have difficulty with sleep are more likely to consume energy-rich foods such as fats or refined carbohydrates, and fewer portions of vegetables (St-Onge & Pietrolungo, 2016). You might not have considered that what’s keeping your body from getting into shape is your unpredictable sleeping pattern. Sleep not only provides us with our daily dose of energy, but it also affects growth, stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, blood pressure and cardiovascular health which all have a direct influence on the digestive system. In other words, to live a healthy lifestyle, consistent quality sleep is essential. Therefore, to obtain the physique, energy, mood, and mental clarity you want this summer, remember balance and moderation applies to diet, sleep, and exercise!
This summer, kick-start your healthy lifestyle by making more conscious food choices and DO NOT RESTRICT. Indulge your sweet tooth, but do it in moderation. Incorporate a fun exercise routine to promote more balance and remember to get your rest. Learn more about the foods you’re eating, as well as foods that cause you discomfort and fatigue versus satiation and energy. You’re going to need that energy to make Summer 2019 an unforgettable one.
St-Onge, M. P., Mikic, A., & Pietrolungo, C. E. (2016). Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 7(5), 938–949. doi:10.3945/an.116.012336