Well, first of all, health comes in many different shapes and sizes. Expending too much energy on food and nutrition and thinking about how to get that “beach body” can actually be unhealthy. It causes most people to put their own self-care and happiness at risk. You will wind up wasting too much time on looking a certain way and be missing out on all the fun opportunities summer has to offer!
Sorry if the title of this blog is misleading. I’m not going to tell you how to shape and form your body to fit society’s narrow standard of beauty. Instead, I’m going to give you tips on how to prepare for summer with a more positive nutrition and exercise focus.
Take advantage of fresh summer produce.
Let’s be real. Summer fruits and vegetable options are the BEST. I am so looking forward to getting fresh red cherries/other berries, melon, salad greens and summer squash! Sure, these days you can buy these types of produce all year round. But, they taste so much fresher and more delicious in the summertime! Plus, you can save money since these foods are “in season.” Some ways I like to use these fresh fruits and veggies include—fruit salads with yogurt dip, salads with homemade poppy seed dressing, or grilled veggie kebobs!
Spend more time outside instead of focusing on summer body.
We were pretty lucky this winter. The DMV area didn’t get hit with too much snow and the weather was mild. So I am glad about that. But, let’s face it. It’s so difficult to get outside in the wintertime because it gets dark so early and 40-degree weather with grey skies doesn’t exactly call out as an enjoyable time spent outside. Now that summer is around the corner, it will be so much easier to relax in the sunshine! Plus, you’re body can absorb Vitamin D from the sun as an added bonus to being outdoors. Just don’t forget the sunscreen J Get creative with how you spend your time outside—Read a book, walk around the National Mall or Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, go for a hike, or just go for a mindful walk!
Get moving instead of focusing on summer body.
Similarly to being outside, it can be difficult to get in physical activity during the winter time. So, take advantage of the weather and try to increase your daily movement. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours at the gym to feel good for summer. It simply means to spend maybe an extra 20 minutes each day loosening and stretching your muscles.
Instead of focusing on a summer body:
Here are some ideas to do so!
- Yoga on the National Mall
- Hiking at Great Falls or other trails
- Walking around your neighborhood with family or friends
- Taking a walk on your lunch break
- Project November
Give yourself permission to enjoy summer get togethers.
Summer can be filled with ice cream, BBQs, vacations, family gatherings, happy hours, and summer cocktails. All of these events can be really intimidating as you are working toward your nutrition goals and building a more positive relationship with food. But, most of these events are supposed to be enjoyable because you will be spending time with the people that you love. It’s okay to plan for these events with your REBEL Dietitian so you can go in feeling confident. Make sure to give yourself permission to enjoy the food that is offered as these events. One tip you might want to try: Spend 5-10 minutes surveying the options that are offered. This will allow you to decide what you truly want—instead of jumping in too quickly and choosing options you may not truly enjoy. Pick a few of your favorites and be sure to make half your plate fruits and veggies.
Focus on balance, not summer body.
Many diet crazes out there generally recommend to cut way down or even cut out a certain food group. Doing so will back fire in the long run. Your body will start to be depleted of essential nutrients and you’ll start to feel tired, sad and even grumpy. Many times this then leads to a binge. Instead of focusing on cutting out a food group. Try to focus more on balancing your plate. You want to make sure each meal has 3-4 different food groups in the meal. Of course, you will also want to make sure the serving sizes are appropriate for you (in general, this means about a fist-sizes worth of cooked grains, 2 fists of veggies and about a palm size or slightly larger or protein). Trust me, you’ll feel so much more satisfied and stronger if your plate is balanced! And it’s a much more realistic plan that never eating carbs again 😉
“Count memories, not calories.”
I’m not sure where I first saw this quote, but I love it. The memories and enjoyment of warmer weather are more important than how much you weigh or how you look. Feeling good about yourself and enjoying your food and body instead of stressing about it is what is going to ultimately bring your happiness and confidence. This journey isn’t always easy. But, we dietitians at RBA can help you get there. Be sure to talk to your dietitian about small steps to take to improve your relationship with food and your body.
If you would like to make an appointment with on of our dietitians, click here or call 301-474-2499.
Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients. Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.