How to stay on track during the busy summer
We hear it all the time. Balance. Everything in moderation. Too much of something is usually never a good thing. But how? How do we balance work, fun, stress, nutrition, exercise, sleep, etc? Some people are great multi-taskers and doers, others not so much and need to focus on one thing at a time. In my opinion, simplicity and happiness is the answer. Keep it simple, don’t overthink it, and make sure it brings you happiness.
I don’t know about you, but my summer brings a lot more social activities, weddings, BBQs, patio meet-ups, and sporting events. These typically involve eating out or meals that I do not prepare, alcohol, more sitting that moving, and great conversations. If this is happening at least a couple times a week it can get overwhelming and cause some anxiety in a lot of people. I love going to these fun events because they bring me happiness, but sometimes the guilt sets in the day after indulging.
The way I have dismissed the guilt and tackle the busy nature of summer is to make sure I am balancing the things in my life. I eat nutrient-dense foods every day, drinking plenty of water, getting in daily movement or exercise (variety), prioritize sleep, and take time for me FIRST. If my life is way too busy or if I am feeling much too overwhelmed or stressed, I have learned to say no. Setting yourself up for the summer chaos by taking care of yourself and your health first is going to make you feel much better about indulging at social outings. It’s about the balance. Here is an example:
There is a potluck BBQ/bonfire on a Saturday afternoon. I know I am going to eat there and try a lot of rich foods and also have a few alcoholic beverages. Here are some tips on how to stay balanced and on track:
- Eat a nutrient-dense, healthy breakfast. My go-to, well-rounded breakfast: egg/egg white/turkey sausage veggie scramble with a side of fresh fruit or a side of oatmeal topped with berries and some peanut butter.
- Get in a workout, a hike, bike ride, or a long walk (No, NOT extra exercise because you are indulging later. Just get some movement in!)
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day (and bring a full water bottle with to the BBQ)
- Have a lighter lunch with plenty of vegetables, a good protein source, and some healthy fats (Bed of greens topped with fresh veggies, grilled chicken, and avocado with homemade vinaigrette)
- Make a healthy side dish to bring to the BBQ so you know you will be eating a side of something you prepared at home
- Have a snack before you go to the BBQ. NEVER go on an empty stomach. That often leads to binging and getting uncomfortably full. Favorite snacks: greek yogurt with chopped nuts or granola, cottage cheese, an apple with cheese, veggies dipped in hummus, a rice cake topped with deli meat and cheese, or a couple hard boiled eggs
- At the BBQ focus on the social aspect and time with your friends and family
- Decide how many alcoholic beverages you are going to have at the BBQ (a reasonable amount) and stick to it. Going overboard with the alcohol can easily lead to going overboard with food as well
- When you are hungry, dish up a balanced plate with a good protein source, some veggies if available, and try a couple small servings of other sides. Do not overload your plate because you can always have more if you are hungry
- Do not immediately go up for seconds or to try other foods. Give your body some time to digest and feel how satisfied you really are
- Enjoy the party. Socialize, play games, relax
- Be home at a reasonable time to get in your zzz’s
Now it is the day after the BBQ. Maybe I feel tired or I drank and ate a little bit more that I had planned. That is OK. Now here is what I DO NOT do the day after some indulging:
- Lay around and feel guilty for indulging the night before
- Go exercise for longer than normal to try and burn off the food and alcohol I consumed last night
- Restrict calories and food because I ate way too much yesterday
- Eat zero carbs because “carbs are bad and can make you fat”
- Go get a really greasy, delicious breakfast, order pizza for dinner, and then eat a pint of ice cream because I already ate a ton and indulged yesterday, so my weekend is already ruined. What’s another day.
- Lay and sit around all day binge-watching netflix (Hey, sometimes you need that, though)
The next day, carry on like any other day. It is a new day. Yesterday is behind you. Eat nutrient-dense foods, drink plenty of water, get in a quick workout or go on a walk, read a book, watch some netflix, etc. Do you see what the difference is between your average day and the day after indulging? Absolutely nothing. It is balance. It may take some time to be compassionate with yourself and kick the guilt out, but it can and will happen. You can train yourself to have balance with everything in life, not just your nutrition. Stay tuned for future posts on how to balance other things in life.
My challenge to you this summer is to try and find that balance that brings you both happiness and health. Do the things you enjoy doing and leave the guilt behind. You only have one life to live. If you need some help, our nutrition coaches at Core Health Chiropractic are here for you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org