Memorial Day crept up on you, didn’t it? It crept up on me, too, and, likely, millions of other Americans. A three-day weekend can be a very pleasant surprise to many – and the summer season is almost always met with excitement, vacations and fun. That is, unless you don’t feel fully prepared for it.
We all know there is not one “perfect” size, shape or weight for all people. However, we also know that we feel our best when we look our best, whatever form that look may take. There are plenty of diet and exercise routines out there to get you summer-ready. Some start in January, while others are last-minute, quick-fixes to shed a little water weight. I’ll let you judge what works best for you to achieve the physique that will have you feeling – and, therefore, looking – your best.
Instead, I want to focus on the small habits we can adopt on a daily or weekly basis that can support whatever dietary or exercise regimen we have already implemented in anticipation of the summer season.
Add a Little Excitement
That starts with food in the office. Summer is the perfect season to load up on many fresh fruits and vegetables. The weather means weekly farmer’s markets are accessible to most of us, adding the perfect excuse to get out of the office in pursuit of a nutritious snack. Try a new fruit you’ve never seen or heard of. Pack some plain or vanilla Greek yogurt that can be topped with any number of farmer’s market finds. You can even make a base smoothie on Monday that you can enhance throughout the week by adding a variation of farmer’s market and local grocery store finds.
That jaunt to the farmers market might provide a little fresh air, exercise and boost of nutrition, but I bet we can do even better. Take full advantage of this weather (where and when permitting) and walk or bike to work. If that’s not feasible, try to work in a pre- or post-work walk, jog or run. It can even be a group activity if you swap those two beers at happy hour for, say, a mile walk to the new coffee and tea shop (just don’t go overboard with a double-chocolate frappuccino!).
Stretching, yoga, a little cardio, core, or even strength or resistance training can all be achieved during the lunchtime hour as well. We’ve all heard the success stories of doing sit-ups or squats at your desk, not to mention a few yoga poses that can loosen joints, doing double duty for those who spend large amounts of time sitting down.
Add a Few New Habits
Summer can also be the perfect season to try out a few new habits to see if they stick. Take your family on a bike ride around the beach or park Saturday morning. See if your dog will fetch a Frisbee if you throw it on the sand. Jump on Groupon and give a new exercise studio a try! You’ll never know whether you like pilates, barre, CrossFit or spinning unless you give it a whirl! Don’t like it? That’s the beauty of Groupon! Pay a nominal fee to test something out, and move on if it’s not the right fit for you.
Pinterest can also be chalked full of great get-healthy recipes. Give homemade juices, smoothies or soups a try. The warm weather is an ideal time to eat lighter, fresher and healthier. Buy a new type of fish that’s on sale at the market. Integrate Meatless Mondays into the weekly schedule and see if you feel a difference. Replace cereal, bacon and toast with a protein-packed smoothie during the week. After a few weeks, I bet you won’t even miss your old breakfast fare. And if you do – indulge on the weekends. Five days of success out of seven ain’t bad!
Summer is all about having fun and doing so with the ones we love. Unfortunately, that ends up being a tall order if we’re uncomfortable with the skin we’re in. If you feel you could be happier, healthier and just plain more confident if you shaped up some, then take the first step to a newer you and begin to find the diet and exercise habits that work for you.
I’ve personally found that I love surfing and golfing – but that was after much trial and error! Let me know where you found your passion. I’d love to give it a try. Have a wonderful summer, everyone!