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Tips for a Fun & Fit Summer

Cue the poolside and patio lounging, summer is almost here!

Memorial Day weekend is just one week away, and I dunno ‘bout you, but for my family, this holiday weekend marks the official start of the summer season!

Does the last few weeks of warm temps and sunshine have you jonesing for a super social summer?

Think drinks poolside…festivals…concerts…picnics…BBQ’s…road trips…vacations… patio eating and drinking…the list goes on!

You’re likely nodding YES because living in Cleveland means a short window to get out, soak in the sun and enjoy all the things!

Point being, heading into summer = TONS of distractions.

And with these distractions typically follows the infamous all-or-nothing mindset:

……”With the kids home, it’s too hard to exercise so I’ll go back to the gym in August”.

…..”I want to eat better buuuut with all these vacations, graduation parties and cookouts it’s going to be hard sooo I’ll just say ‘screw it’ until Summer is over”.

And hey, I get it because while I am a coach, I am also human and LOVE getting to the ballpark, Mitchell’s ice cream and exploring all the fun stuff CLE has to offer!

Buuuut, the “all or nothing” mindset can be a slippery, dangerous slope leading you to total self-sabotage.

If you want to be healthier, exercise and eat better BUUUT also don’t want to miss out on summer fun, good news:

YOU CAN!

Consistency beats perfection every single time! That means you can have your s’mores and eat it, too!

How do you stay consistent with a super social summer schedule?

First, ditch the all or nothing mindset.

Next, learn how to create a balance by practicing my most popular, highly sought after tips for having a fun and fit summer when it comes to the 3 biggest self-sabotage culprits:

  • Alcohol: enjoy adult bevs without sacrificing results.

  • Vacation + Travel: make better choices without falling off the wagon.

  • BBQ’s + picnics + cookouts: nail social meals guilt free!

Keep reading and learn how you CAN absolutely enjoy your summer and still make progress with your goals – it’s about finding the right balance.


But First, Expectations:

Let me begin by framing expectations around common goals so that you can understand what you need to do and can then decide what you are / are not willing to do to strike that balance:

  • If weight/fat loss is your goal, you need to be in a calorie deficit: consuming fewer calories than you are burning each day. Nothing crazy, just about 500 or so calories will do the trick.

  • If weight maintenance is your goal, you need to be eating at or about the same number of calories you are burning in a day.

  • If you want to add weight or muscle mass, you need to be in a calorie surplus: consuming more calories than you are burning each day.

  • If overall health is your goal, you need to be eating well-balanced meals in the appropriate portions for your body and needs.

Use this framework to align behaviors and goals accordingly.

Important to note: QUALITY of foods is just as important as QUANTITY.

Quality foods = REAL, nutrient-dense foods – foods that are as close to their natural state as possible with little to no processing – as they keep you fuel, fueled and feeling your best. A few examples:

  • Proteins: chicken, turkey, pork, beef, salmon, shrimp, tuna, Greek yogurt, eggs

  • Veggies: load up on ALL the veggies – you can never go wrong with these!

  • Heart Healthy Fats: nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios), seeds (chia, flax, sunflower), nut butters (peanut /almond butter), avocado, olives and olive oil.

  • Smart Carbs: brown/wild rice, sprouted grains, quinoa, sweet and regular potatoes and beans (chick peas, black, kidney, lentils).


Social Summer Culprit #1: Alcohol

There is something extra special about summertime, making ya want to kick back with a drink in hand. Not to mention, when it’s hot, these drinks go down super quick!

Here’s the challenge with alcohol:

Empty Calories: These calories provide little to no nutritional value.

Impairs Choices: Alcohol impairs your decision-making so the more you drink, the fewer inhibitions, especially when it comes to the types of food you choose when drinking and hungover.

Slows/ Stalls Progress: When drinking, your body needs to burn off alcohol which means it is no longer burning off fat. This can certainly lead to not just weight gain, but your body holding onto/storing additional fat.

So, what can you do to enjoy a few drinks and stay in line with your goals?

Here are my 5 tips for drinking alcohol:

  1. Prime your body with nutrients! Before drinking, focus on eating lean proteins and fresh veggies.

  2. Limit intake: Choose the number of drinks you will have and stick to that number.

  3. Hydrate! Be sure to stay hydrated and have a glass of water between each drink.

  4. Drink the basics: Avoid drinks containing sugary mixers and syrups- these contain TONS of added sugars and dehydrate you much faster!

  5. Enjoy Mocktails: Sometimes it’s more of the habit *holding and sipping* we find most comforting when in a social setting. Lots of local bars are adding mocktails / NA drinks to their menu so you have options!


Social Summer Culprit #2: Vacation

Next up, vacation! Traveling can be tricky for finding optimal nutrition choices. Whether you are road-tripping or flying the blue skies, here are my 4 travel tips for you to “pack”:

  1. Stay hydrated: Focus on drinking water before anything else. Climate change combined with the humidity levels of a typical aircraft can quickly dehydrate you.

  2. Pack snacks: Airport snacks are overpriced and most come pre-packaged with tons of added salt and sugar. Pack portable options like self-contained fruits (apples, oranges or bananas), nuts and seeds, tuna in a pouch, or high-quality protein bars like an RX bar.

  3. Pack a cooler: Road-tripping? Don’t rely on those rest stop vending machines or gas station hot dogs. Prepare healthy meals and snacks in advance like fresh-cut fruits and veggies, salads, sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, or string cheese.

  4. Shop for convenience items: When you can’t pack snacks or prep a cooler, opt for the real items typically available at airports, gas stations and convenient stores: bananas, packs of (unsalted) nuts, protein packs with nuts, cheeses and fruits, protein bars (opt for the shortest list of ingredients) and sandwiches.

Ok, so you are done with the traveling portion of your trip and finally arrived to your destination. Not every place you visit / eat has everything you need to create a balanced meal.

Here are 3 strategies for eating on out vacation:

  1. Plan splurges: The best way to strike a balance is planning ahead, just like you would at home – examples:

    …If dinners at a restaurant, prep eat breakfast and lunch at your rental

    … If brunching at the local hot spot, prep and eat other meals at your rental.

    Always focus on eating balanced meals throughout the day to stay full and do not skip meals in anticipation of splurges and larger meals.

  2. Eat veggies + protein: Prioritize eating proteins and plenty of fresh veggies first at every meal, regardless if dining in or out.

    This combo = the dream team for keeping you satisfied and reducing the urge to binge.

  3. Eat mindfully: Slow down! Pick foods you wouldn’t normally eat / are unique to your destination and take the time to slow down and really enjoy!

    Set your utensils down in between bites to better recognize fullness cues.


Social Summer Culprit #3: BBQ’s & Cookouts

Last but not least is my personal favorite, barbecues, picnics and cookouts!

Come summer, these are a dime a dozen (not mad about it!) and enjoying these shouldn’t come at the expense of your health and personal goals.

Here are 4 ways to nail food-focused social gatherings and meals without falling off the wagon:

  1. Bring a dish to share: Control what you can by bringing a dish packed with tons of nutrients. My personal go-to’s are veggie trays, a protein source (grilled chicken or pulled pork), or a healthy dip like this Greek feta dip.

  2. Skip everyday items: Skip the foods you eat on the regular and treat yourself to foods you don’t eat often.

  3. Load theveggies: If you are serving yourself, load up and fill half your plate with veggies. From there, focus on the lean proteins and use the remaining space for goodies.

  4. Be a Social Butterfly: Move around the party and mingle! Otherwise, planting yourself next to the food leads to mindless grazing. Outta sight, outta mind!

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