Ashley's Tips for a "Healthy-Made-Easy" Summer , 1 Comment

Ah, summer. Long overdue vacations with friends and family have finally arrived and warm, sunny, days start to replace those dreary days of winter. Although dreaming of hot beach days and cool ocean swims would be enough to put a smile on just about anyone’s face, we can’t help but dwell on the thought of hopping back into sleeveless shirts, shorts, and swimsuits again. As barbeques, art fairs, and outdoor events boast delicious, seasonal food, we still feel the pressure to lose weight. Quite the predicament, right?!

But don’t put your summer goals to rest just yet! There is an easy way to boost your confidence while continuing to take care of your body during the summer months. The key is to make sure you are consistently doing activities that create happiness in your life, while also being conscious of the things your body needs. By keeping these small tips in mind and knowing that you have the capability to be the best version of you, your memorable summer will be a fulfilling one as well (pun intended).

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Water is a crucial component to the summer experience in more ways than you might think. Water comprises about 60% of the human body, making it easy for us to utilize this essential fluid to the max. Water drives physiological processes like digestion, while controlling our body’s internal temperature through perspiration. Warmer summer temperatures may cause our bodies to work harder to stay cool, resulting in an increased loss of hydration. To prevent excessive fluid loss, drink a minimum of 64 ounces per day. Increase this number by 8 ounces with each added hour of physical activity.

2. Try cooler workouts: No, literally! The hot temperatures, both at the beach and during a long jog, affect performance, putting additional stress on the body. Try to wear light, loose clothing that allows you to stay dry and cool, and if you must exercise outdoors, do it in the early morning or evening, when temperatures will be at their lowest. If not, the increased heat and decreased hydration could result in fatigue and muscle cramping.

3. Change up your childhood favorites: Unlike sugary popsicles and bacon-cheddar-stuffed hamburgers, there are many summer foods that won’t make you feel as if you ‘fell off the wagon’. Lots of great fresh produce is now in season! Tomatoes, watermelon, and strawberries can be added into several different dishes that will increase flavor and variety for your barbecue spread. Substituting a tempting ice cream cone for a cool cup of berry-topped frozen yogurt or whipping up a festive salsa with delicious mango and black beans are a just a couple ideas that will leave your guests smiling and satisfied.

4. Ditch the idea of the “summer diet”: There’s no perfect diet, and diet rules usually go out the window during fun backyard BBQs. Let loose and ditch the restrictive mentality, but still be sensible when making food choices. Be mindful of portion sizes and incorporate more healthy, fibrous foods like kale salad or summer squash before diving into a hot dog. Filling up with low-calorie options before a calorie-dense food will cause you to eat less of the not-so-healthy item. Be inspired to take on new healthy habits and surround yourself with people that support and share your health goals. It’s easier to stay on track when you have friends who also create healthier picnic foods and are eager to follow up a meal with a volleyball game!

5. Remember the Z’s: The dog days of summer can make the days and nights feel so long that you don't want to miss a minute. You may find yourself staying up later as the days are longer or taking mid-afternoon naps to gear up for an evening dinner party. This sporadic sleep schedule can lead to exhaustion, as it interrupts a normal sleep routine. Continue to aim for 8-9 hours of Z’s per night. According to Meir Kryger, MD from the National Sleep Foundation’s Board of Directors, this prolonged season is the prime opportunity to rejuvenate with energy and redevelop a healthy and routine sleep schedule!

- Ashley Lytwyn