Body Image In Summer
The very sound of the phrase, “Summer Fun” brings back salty memories of carefree childhood summer vacations at Panama City Beach, Florida. It was a magical time and place. Before the age of 4 years when my mom told me I was fat, it was nirvana. After that, everything changed. I began to plan my vacation centered around the way that I looked in a swimsuit at the age of 4. The real kicker was that I was not fat. I’m sure that my mother could be diagnosed as anorexic today. She was beautiful but obsessed with body image, hers and mine.
Summer fun can bring many obstacles to your weight loss program. If you have struggled to feel comfortable in a swimsuit, but did not achieve all of the goals that you set, you may approach the beach with dread. The stress of feeling self-conscious nearly naked can set you up for disaster. As cortisol levels rise from stress, insulin dumps into your bloodstream and you get hungry. The freshly churned ice cream doesn’t help, so you just keep eating. Of course, someone brings an alcohol based, fruity drink into the mix and the situation deteriorates even farther. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and by the time you get home you’re bloated, miserable and depressed. That’s just Saturday. Sunday’s coming, and then the rude awakening of Monday morning when your clothes are just too tight.
Take Control This Summer!
As the summer progresses, odds are that the swimsuit will disappear and jeans and t-shirts will take it’s place. While others are splashing in the surf, you are sweltering on the beach. Summer can be navigated to help you with your weight loss program. The key is to treat summer just like every other season. Count your calories, exercise (with your doctor’s permission), rest and make your world small. David’s Way works year round.
My best weight and fitness levels seem to be achieved easier when I start the day with a protein shake. I have my own formula which works well for me. Since I am a strength trainer, my shake might not be exactly what you want or need. The only criteria for a good protein shake is 0 grams added sugars and good protein sources.
Whatever milk you use is a source of protein. Add a no sugar added protein powder, 0 calorie sweetener and maybe some powdered peanut powder if you like. If you choose to have a protein shake, remember, THEY ARE NOT SUBSTITUTES FOR WHOLE FOODS. They are only meant to supplement a healthy diet. I also have oats and eggs most days. A cold shake on a hot summer morning is uber-refreshing! Protein gets your metabolism revved to burn hot all day. I like to add oats for healthy, complex carbs and eggs. Eggs are a staple in my diet.
Mid-morning can be a treacherous time at work. Quite often there are doughnuts, cupcakes and all kinds of abominations waiting to ambush you. Carry unsweetened, Greek yogurt with your choice of sugar-free add-ins. Crystal Lite, Tang Liquid Drink Mix and Lemonade Mio are some of my favorites. You can add raspberries to the yogurt that has Raspberry-Lemonade Crystal Light and have a scrumptious dessert that is better than the toxic pastries and baked goods around you. Cheese sticks, turkey sticks, nuts and apples also make excellent mid-morning choices whether you are home, traveling or working.
Brown Bag It
Lunch can be a wrap made in a high-fiber, low carb tortilla such as Ole Extreme Wellness Tortillas, brought from home. Stuff it with lean protein of your choice and veggies. If you like mayo, choose a sugar-free variety. I particularly like Duke’s. It has never had sugar so it is an original recipe, not a “diet mayo”. Canned red beans with browned ground beef seasoned with sugar-free catsup and Brown Swerve is a quick alternative to a wrap or a sandwich. Both of these can be easily prepared at home and carried anywhere. One of the best sugar-free catsups that I have found is Heinz. It is reasonably priced, some are not.
If you are at a cook-out at lunch time, stick with the burgers, with or without the bun. You can choose to eat a bun, but stop at one. If you are still hungry, opt for another hamburger patty with toppings, just no bun. Coleslaw that is dressed with vinegar and a 0 calorie sweetener instead of mayo is a good side.
Forego the chips unless you carry some home made chips. The recipe is here. I suggest that you try this recipe ahead of time and learn how to use your microwave to do it. David’s oven crisps them up nicely in 4 minutes. Mine is different. I cook them about 2 1/2 minutes and move them around on the plate and then cook them in 30 second intervals until they are perfect. Seasoned with the popcorn salt of your choice, they are a really good kettle chip type potato chip.
ALWAYS skip the alcohol. It’s just liquid sugar that has little to no nutritive value. No, you won’t get enough resveratrol in wine to warrant the excess calories and cravings that come with it. If you want resveratrol, talk to your doctor about taking a supplement.
Quick and Easy
Quick summer dinners are best. Nobody wants to spend a long time in the kitchen when it’s hot. Quickly prepared food is best whether you are at home alone or at a party. Grilled foods are a summer delight! We grilled meats when I was growing up but nothing else. Nowadays your entire meal can be cooked on the grill. Meats, poultry, seafood, fruits and veggies can be served up quickly from the grill without heating up your house.
Exercise is mandatory for good health. I was an avid swimmer for years. Five to seven days were spent in the pool every week. In the Winter, it was difficult. Summer time was wonderful, however! The cool water of the pool was pure joy! You can go to a local YMCA for affordable swimming year round. Sometimes people say that it’s too expensive to join a gym. If you want to swim year round, you almost have to.
The YMCA is affordable, but not cheap. When you consider that they have the great pools along with everything that all other gyms have, it’s a bargain. The expense of not getting good exercise is much greater than any amount that you spend to work out. Inactivity results in dysfunction and ultimately sickness. You decide what your health is worth.
Get your rest this summer! Endless parties and trips that are centered around food are landmines for your weight management program. If you don’t get enough rest, your cortisol levels will soar and you will be ravenously hungry. Good sleep helps to regulate all of your hormones including those that are involved in fat storage. Sometimes it’s best to say “No.” to some invitations if they will keep you from getting the rest that you need. Summer is filled with parties, family reunions, church socials, weddings and more. So, pick and choose the events that are really important and stay home otherwise. Then, not only will you get some rest, you will be able to control your meals better. Your waistline will thank you.