28 Aug Drop 5 LBS. Now (Without Trying too Hard!)
Summer officially ends on September 21st. I LOVE the summer and I know like every year past, I’m going to miss it terribly. I’m out and about a lot more over the summer too. This of course means more alcohol, more meals out and less sleep; the perfect recipe for weight gain, bloating and fatigue. And while I’d love to tell you that I always eat clean and never drink too much and get a perfect 8 hours of restful sleep every night, I would totally be lying.
Truth is, despite having an increasingly busy career and being pulled in a thousand directions every day, I like to have fun, especially in the summer. So I’ve had to master a little thing called BALANCE. Balance to me doesn’t mean micromanaging your health but instead taking good care of yourself while also truly enjoying your life. Sounds easy, but it can be difficult, especially in the summer. So here are some tips to help you achieve balance and drop 5 pounds without trying too hard.
1. Consider interval training. If you see a little whacko doing squats or lunging her way through your neighborhood, don’t worry…it’s just me :)! Much to my best friend’s horror (and likely my neighbor’s) I’ve added an interval twist to my outdoor walks a few times a week – and I’m seeing big changes! Here’s what I do. I start out with a 5 to 10 minute warm up of power walking. Then I add in 30 seconds of intense training like jumping jacks, squats on air, jump squats, lunges….hell, I’ve even done push-ups on the sidewalk. I follow the 30 seconds of intense activity with one minute of power walking and continue this sequence for 20 to 30 minutes.
This workout is intense and certainly not for beginners; especially in the summer heat so I always recommend that you get your doctor’s permission before starting anything like this. Also, stay hydrated with water. And most important, listen to your body; start out slow by doing 10 seconds of less intense intervals followed by a longer recovery if needed.
And yes I do this on my walks through my neighborhoods where people know me. But sometime after the age of 30, I basically decided I didn’t give a s&$@ what people think of me. I really love this workout because I’m out in the sunshine and the time flies by. And to be honest, my body and my health are way more important to me than anyone else’s opinion.
2. Give up the bread (at least for a little while). I gave up bread a few years ago and haven’t looked back. This is not to say that I don’t eat carbs – I eat them every three hours along with protein and fat to keep my blood sugar stable (more on that here.). But these days I skip the bread for whole natural carbs like my favorite fruits, vegetables, salads, sweet potatoes and quinoa. This simple switch makes a HUGE difference not only in the way your clothes fit but also in digestion, fatigue and overall health.
Colorful fruits and veggies and sweet potatoes are loaded in vitamins, fiber and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. And yes sometimes when I’m out to an amazing restaurant and fresh baked bread and butter lands on my table, I’ll have some. And I enjoy every bite. But there’s a big difference between eating processed bread every day versus having some on occasion. It’s that little thing called balance again. Try it – you’ll see and feel a difference.
3. Snack like you mean it. Ever have those times when you’re so hungry you’ll eat literally anything? Say hello to blood sugar dropping. And you know what comes next…you eat a ton of carbs or eat until you can’t zip your skinny jeans. Now say hello to weight gain. Ugh! How can you end the cycle? Snack! The right snack can keep blood sugar stable until the next meal, helping you to eat less and keep your metabolism high. Here are my favorite snacks on the go:
- The Perfect Bar or RX Bars, two high quality all natural meal bars with a great balance of protein, carbs and fat.
- Chia Pods (these cool little chia puddings found in the refrigerated section of some markets) with a sprinkle of hemp seeds
- Hemp protein smoothie with banana and almond milk
- All natural turkey or beef jerky (makes sure it is gluten free with no added nitrates or nitrites except those naturally occurring in sea salt or celery) and a Mamma Chia fruit and chia seed pouch (it’s like a little juice pouch for adults) or Kind Pressed bar (all fruit and veggie bar) or a little fruit
- If you’re ever in a pinch, grab a handful of dry roasted or raw nuts to hold you over without spiking blood sugar
4. Drink quality vodka or tequila. If you are going out for drinks, skip the beer (it causes bloating) and the super sugary drinks. Instead, try Tito’s or Deep Eddy Vodka (both are naturally gluten free) mixed with water (or club soda) and muddled fruit if you’d like. You’ll notice less bloating and less of a hangover.
Dying for a margarita or fruity drink? Order a fresh fruit (not a pre-made mix) margarita with gluten free tequila (or vodka like me) and request very little simple syrup or better yet, agave nectar. Then stick to vodka with club soda or ice water and fresh fruit the rest of the night.
Another awesome tip is to pair your alcohol with a protein like steak, chicken or salmon and a light carbohydrate like salad or veggies. In the old days I used to load up on carbs when drinking but I’ve learned the hard way it only makes me bloated and gives me a headache. So eat clean when you drink; you’ll stay leaner and feel better the next day.
And on a personal note, my best friend passed away very recently from addiction. He struggled for many years and fought like hell to stay sober. I don’t know firsthand what addiction is like, but I loved someone who did. I know this for sure though: Eric was so much more than an addict. He was a kind, warm, complicated, hilarious, strong, handsome, passionate man being who helped so many other people during their recovery. He was my best friend and my rock and I will miss him terribly. I’m sharing this because I want everyone to be touched by Eric, even the people that never got to meet him. And I hope that by sharing Eric’s story, it can help to make a dent in the stigma associated with addiction; we’re all human and we all struggle in some way. Thank you to everyone who reached out to me on social media after Eric’s passing. I love you all and I read every message.
Happy end of summer my friends; I hope you soak up every last bit and have a blast!