I will admit, I still have my coat hanging next to my front door here in Chicago, even though it’s “Spring.” The rainy weather and gray sky is not holding me back on my plans for stepping into health this month, summer and beyond. Here is my game plan and suggestions for others looking to do the same.
5 Ways to Step-up Your Health this Spring and Summer:
- Never overeat, nor undereat. I guess it doesn’t matter what season it is to follow this “rule,” but with warm weather, can come more BBQs, happy hours, social events, etc, and the last thing I would want any client to do is skip or skimp on their morning meal to “save” calories for the evening. Undereating can be just as stressful on the body as overeating. So what do you do? Eat smarter. Presume (or start) having a solid breakfast with at least 20-40 grams of protein (gender depending) and if you have a big night ahead, perhaps cut back on the carbohydrates you typically eat, but do not under do it. Leading to the afternoon’s or evening’s event, make smart choices, stay hydrated and eat clean. Once the party starts enjoy the company and the food, but not too much of either. Alcohol can inhibit our best interest and your hard work doesn’t need sabotaged by an extra drink.
- Broaden your food choices. Come spring and summer, more lovely produce reaches their peak season. What does this mean? Easier (and cheaper) to locate, and the crops actually taste better. For example, it’s so easy to locate organic strawberries right now. Slice some up and threw them into scrambled eggs with coconut oil, dress them into a salad, eat them plain or with some almond milk or coconut cream. Hello tastebuds! I have also done up Brussel sprouts in a variety of ways from savory, with roasted onion and garlic, to sweet, baked with sliced dates. Get creative, keep your mouth entertained with the flavors this season has to offer.
- Use food reward and palatability the right way to improve body fat. What do I mean? If a food is very palatable, people will eat 44% more of that food. And what I mean by “very palatable,” I am talking about industrialized (food with either added sugar, salt, color and/or added fat to enhance the flavor thus chemical response to our brain. If we eat whole food, in it’s natural form, we are less likely to over-consume. So know your triggers – perhaps something that is fat laden with sugar or starch (ice cream, fries, doughnuts, etc) or salty (think about the difference when eating raw almonds vs roasted, salted almonds, which will you eat more of?) and visual cues (we are more likely to eat more of a food if it’s multi-colored (tortilla chips) than if they were all the same color). The variety distracts your mind to understand how much you have eaten.
- Nurture your sleep routine, and if you don’t have one, create one. When we are tired, we are less capable to sticking to our health choices. We often opt towards the sweeter, higher calorie foods. Overall, we as a nation, are getting 20% less sleep than we need. Less sleep = cognitive impairment. Less sleep shows about 300 more calories a day. We tend to be more impulsive on less sleep. Inhibitory control is lost. Sleep has the strongest correlation to obesity compared to diet and fitness. To enhance your sleep, allow an hour to 45 minutes before getting in bed to wind down (put the computer away). Have your bedroom at a cool temperature and create a pitch black room. Buy chamomile oils or lavender oils to help you relax and lastly when laying in bed, tell yourself all the things you are thinking, can be thought about tomorrow.
- Don’t compare yourself to others – our body’s, including metabolism and gene expressions all work in different ways. That is why some people can eat loads of bread and gain nothing, when the next person smells the stuff and puts on 5 pounds. Not literally, but I think you can level with me.
- Don’t major in minor things. Sometimes eating “perfectly” can do us more harm than good. The stress of adding a drop of cream in an organic coffee or a GMO corn kernel in a stir-fry is not worth the stress (depending on what type of lifestyle/diet you are trying to follow). Surely it is if you have intense negative symptoms from these foods (allergy) but don’t get your panties in a bundle over every bite you take. Focus on the main elements of eating clean and be satisfied if/when you have a superb eating day.