Balancing Health and Summer Fun

Summer is here! Summertime in Ontario often means cottages, beach days and cold drinks on a patio. With kids out of school, more travel and social gatherings, it can be easy to get lost in the summer fun and fall out of your usual health routine. Below are some strategies to balance summer fun with making healthier choices.

Set yourself up for success

When the original plan is complicated to begin with, it is easy to fall off track. Start with a plan that you know you can do. Once you integrate these habits into your everyday life, then increase difficulty or add on more habits. For example- if you are not currently exercising and you decide that this summer you’re going to get back into running, don’t plan to run 4 times a week. Plan for once a week to begin with. If you’re planning ‘eating healthy’ this summer- what does that mean to you? Give yourself some tangible goals that are achievable in a short amount of time. Maybe you start your day with a smoothie that has spinach, blueberries and protein powder instead of your bowl of cereal. That is a big enough goal for one week. Start small and build. If you plan only works according to one specific schedule or routine, it isn’t flexible enough.

Plan as much as possible

Look at each week from a bird’s-eye view and see what you have going on. What events do you have this week? Are you going to be rushed for dinner on Wednesday night? Can you plan ahead so you have extra leftovers you can eat at that time? Do you have to change the time of your morning run because of a meeting on Thursday? Are you going to be at a cottage this weekend? If you know you’re away, maybe you go to the gym on Tuesday instead of your normal Saturday time. Plan out your tasks at the beginning of the week and schedule them into your calendar. Treat these commitments as you would others.

Get rid of the all or nothing mentality

Often, when we forget or decide not to follow through on some of our health goals, we feel a sense of guilt and failure- this can lead to the ‘whatever I already failed’ mentality. This way of thinking creates a barrier for us to complete other goals throughout the day or make healthy decisions. If you skip you run, it doesn’t mean you need to make up for it by reducing your intake dessert, but it also doesn’t mean that you may-as-well have 2 helpings of dessert because you skipped your run anyways. Remember some is better than none.

Remember the basics

The summer gets hectic fast. Some weeks seem to fly by and if you’re out having fun with friends or family at the beach and skip your normal routine- all good. Just remember the fundamentals so you can feel good while on vacation and make it easier to transition back into routine when home.

Some good basics to keep in mind:

Stay hydrated. When we don’t drink enough water, our muscles become sore more easily, we tend to be more susceptible to headaches and migraines and we sometimes eat more because we confuse thirst with hunger. So even if you’re out of your normal routine, try to bring your water bottle wherever you go and drink plenty of water.

Movement- in whatever form works. It’s easy to get out of our gym or right now at- home exercise plans during the summertime. That’s okay. Focus on movement over your exact plan. It might mean you spend more time skipping outside, swimming, gardening, going on long walks and playing outdoor games and sports with friends. It may mean less sit ups and workout videos. That’s all good. Just move however you can.

Diet – When it comes to diets in the summer it can be tricky, especially if travelling to cottages and beaches on the weekends. Again, keep it simple. It is sometimes easier to focus on what you want to make sure you’re getting rather than restricting. Focus on trying to eat some fruits and vegetables- it doesn’t have to be 10 a day, just eat colourful fruits and vegetables when available to you. Maybe bring up some summer salads to the cottage instead of another bag of chips and some hot dogs. Try to have adequate protein throughout the day, especially early on. This way, you can eat some chips on the beach for pleasure rather than to feed yourself lunch. It may be helpful if going to a cottage for a few days to bring up some protein powder or greens powders to efficiently make sure you’re receiving adequate protein and micronutrients to have you feeling your best

Enjoy it!

It can be hard to balance health and wellness with opening patios, cottages, beach time and sangria. Try to do what you can and remember to come back to the basics. Also, be kind to yourself, the summer months fly by, so don’t spend your time worried about keeping everything perfect. Just remember if you steer off track, get back on the next day- guilt free!

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