Most people would disagree with me when I say that setting and working on summer goals can happen even when summer has already began, especially when it comes to your health and body confidence. I have often heard that healthy habits we practice in summer to look good in bikinis and shorts need to happen all year, and I agree. However, summer is the perfect time to hit the “reset” button with your lifestyle and finally reach your goals, whether they are losing weight, getting a more toned physique, adopting healthier habits or even just boosting your self confidence.
Summer means more free time. Almost everyone catches a break during the summer and no longer has the same excuse of having no time to exercise, prepare healthy meals, meditate and drink more water! I believe that utilizing this extra time will set you on track to make a healthier lifestyle second nature once fall rolls around, it will only take a bit of hard work and diligence to get to this point. Here are some ways to make it easier to adopt healthier habits during summer:
1. Set a reasonable goal. In my opinion, adding a moderate change to your daily routine is the key to success. If you want to exercise more, commit to walking 10,000 steps per day (you can even use a pedometer app on your smartphone to track this) or maybe find time for a 30 minute strength training session 2-3x per week. If you want to have a little more spring in your step every day, take spirulina or chlorella in the morning. If you’d like to get rid of headaches and get glowing skin, keep yourself accountable to drinking 2-3 liters of water a day, minimum.
Bottom line: don’t overload yourself with changes to your life. When you pressure yourself to work out for two hours a day or eat only salads for dinner, you’ll soon get fed up with these changes and revert to your old ways. Doing something more gradual will allow your new habit to become second nature eventually.
2. Get outside! Summer weather will make it much more enjoyable to get some fresh air and sunshine, which will help you both mentally and physically. Getting a bit of sun exposure every day in relatively short bursts (think 10-15 minutes) will give you more than enough vitamin D, a vitamin that many are deficient in. Some benefits of the sunshine/vitamin D intake include:
Strengthening of the immune system and allowing for greater nutrient absorption from food- meaning you’ll be able to ward off sickness and gain more nutrition from your foods, allowing you to exercise more often!
Strengthening of bones, preventing osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
Regulation of blood pressure and muscle relaxation, leading to a more calm mood and more mild mood changes.
Production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us fall asleep and stay asleep easier. Sleep is absolutely critical in leading a healthy lifestyle as it provides energy and decreases unhealthy food cravings.
If you’re concerned about sun damage from being in the sun, make sure you are hydrated and apply SPF.
3. Learn to love the process. When we try to accomplish something and only see the end result, it’s actually easier to lose motivation. We may end up taking extreme measures, like eating far too little or overexercising in hopes that we will reach an aesthetic goal sooner. However, as mentioned before, when you do something extreme, you won’t be able to keep it up for a long time and will soon return back to old behaviors.
Instead, find ways to work out that you enjoy, possibly a dance class or hiking outside. Look for healthy foods that you love to eat by trying different fruits and vegetables and deciding which ones you’d prefer to eat regularly, and find ways to drink more water, such as by adding fresh or frozen fruit or fresh mint leaves to it. This way, a healthy lifestyle will seem like something you can actually enjoy!
4. Find motivation from within. Yes, I believe that looking at inspirational images or quotes can be very motivating, but striving to be confident with yourself is always best. If you want to change something about your appearance, remember that it’s in an effort to be confident with yourself. Once you get to a place where you feel happy with your appearance and can enjoy every moment of your life without stressing about how you look, you have achieved your goal. Remember, it’s not about how you look in a bikini, it’s about how good you’ll feel about yourself wearing it. In this way, everyone’s goal is going to be different.
5. Treat yourself (in moderation!). Even when you’re trying to get healthier, life happens sometimes. Maybe you’re at a family get together staring at a huge plate of chocolate chip cookies, or your friends want to go to out for brunch and all you want is french toast. That’s fine! In the summer especially, fun events will come up and you should not avoid them for fear of having to eat something unhealthy. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy some dessert or otherwise not-so-nutritious foods as long as the overwhelming majority of your diet is whole, nourishing foods. This is an important balance of doing what is good for your physical health and loosening restriction for your mental health.
If you are trying to change your lifestyle, you picked a good time to do it! I hope that these tips help you use your summer to transform into your best self.