It is official, summer is here!! This means warm weather, longer days, vacations, cookouts, and so much more. Summer can also bring a sense of worry or anxiety to those who are trying to stay on track with a nutrition plan. Or you may feel like you cannot “enjoy” summer because, if you do, you will throw your goals out the window. This doesn’t have to be the case. It is possible to find a sense of balance so you can enjoy summer and still stay on track with your nutrition goals. You may just have to change certain habits or adapt new ones which keep your goals in mind. Maybe you will add some flexibility and reduce your level of accuracy. This doesn’t mean you will stop the journey to your goals, however, it may just slow down slightly over the summer! I put a list together of some things which have worked really well for me and a number of my nutrition clients:
- Track Your Food. Using an app like MyFitness Pal makes it easy to keep track of your meals. Once you develop a good habit of logging your food you can make adjustments as needed to make sure you are still hitting your macro goals before you eat it. This can come in handy if you are out and about making a nutrition decision on the fly. Most restaurants will have their menu already uploaded to the MyFitness Pal database as well so you can account for meals out.
- Find Balance. This is something which can be different for everyone. One way to find balance is to commit to prepping all of your meals to be 100% Monday-Friday. Then on Saturday you could allow for more flexibility. Whether it is being 100% with all of your meals until the evening, then in the evening allow for food and drinks which wouldn’t normally be on your plan. Then on Sunday you jump right back onto your nutrition plan. For some, adopting an 80/20 rule over the summer might be more ideal. The bottom line here is, if you want to stay on track with your nutrition goals, you will have to maintain some level of consistency and accuracy with your nutrition.
- Make Healthy Choices. When it comes to the foods we put in our body, we have complete control over what we choose. You have the choice to pick a sugar loaded dessert or fresh fruit. Be mindful of your goals and try to make the best choice possible to help you stay on track. It will make a difference. When you attend events, gatherings, or get togethers eat your veggies first. This will help fill you up and reduce the chances of over-indulging in things you know will not help you reach your goals. Pick and choose when you want to indulge. Indulging every once in a while will not create as much of a negative impact as it would if you start to make a daily habit of it.
- Plan Ahead. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”. This is one of my favorite quotes by Ben Franklin and it couldn’t be anymore true. If you commit to plan for things, you will set yourself up for success as long as you choose to stick to your plan. If you have a busy weekend coming up or you know you are going out of town, create a plan to help you stay on track with your nutrition goals. Get in the habit of having healthy foods prepped and ready to go. Have back up options ready to go incase things change. As an example, we usually have weekends filled with baseball. I will load up a little cooler with my meals. Yes, I will eat them cold if I have too. Or if there is an Eat Fit Go close, we sometimes go there to eat. Have an emergency bag packed. This could include items like RXbars, almonds, rice cakes, or ziplock bags of protein powders. These types of snacks are much better than hitting up a drive thru or completely skipping a meal!
- Skip The Vacation Mindset. For most people the idea of a vacation is a time to relax, let loose, and get off all your normal routines. While this can be great for rest and relaxation, it does not mean you have to completely blow off your nutrition goals. Whether you choose to or not, it is pretty easy to travel with meals, especially if you are driving. Just recently when a group of us traveled to Nashville for the CrossFit Central Regionals, I prepped all of our food for the weekend and stored them in ziplock bags. Whenever we made a stop at the gas station, I put my food in a container and heated it up. Most hotels have fridges and microwaves which make it convenient. Then we allotted for one meal out each day. While this worked well for us, it doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. Most restaurants will be able to prepare a grilled meat with steam veggies. If you need carbs they usually offer rice or sweet potato for example. Depending on how serious you are with your goals, you can make it work! Instead of choosing to indulge in unhealthy foods, spend the money on exploring or doing something adventurous. Again, this is a great time to pick and choose what to indulge in. If you are in a place whcih is said to have the best burger and fries, this might be something you choose to work into your day!
- Stay Hydrated. Drinking enough water is very important, especially if you are out in the heat during the summer. When we do not stay hydrated this can cause the body to hold onto fluids which, in turn, could cause some weight gain. Water can also help keep you from overeating. I always like to drink a glass of water before I eat. Many times I will find I was only thirsty when I thought I was hungry!
- Keep Your Goals In Sight. With the busyness and excitement of summer events and activities, it is easy to forget about your nutrition goals. If you keep them somewhere in sight, it can help motivate you to stay on track and think twice about your decisions. Every day you will be given the opportunity to take another step towards your goals. Things will happen and there will be days where maybe you allow in more flexibility and that is ok! You can still make progress while being a little more flexible. You will just have to be ok with the fact that it may take longer to get to your goal. It is all about the balance.
I hope some of these tips will help you stay on track with your nutrition goals this summer! If you are interested in nutrition coaching let us know.