When the temperatures start to heat up, this is a good time to evaluate how your wellness goals for the year are going. If you were focused after the New Year on healthy habits but have gotten into a rut, summer is a good time to refocus and make small lifestyle changes that will pay off for the remainder of the year and the rest of your life.
A combination of exercise and food choices are important to meeting your goals.
I would like to tell you it is going to be easy, but after doing this for more than 28 years, it is never easy and takes a lot of dedication. What I can say, though, is the payoff will be worth the changes you make in your health and wellbeing.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Record your eating habits. You have to know where you have been before you know where you are going. Get a small memo book and start recording. Track all items you eat and drink and the amounts. It is also good to write your mood down when eating. By recording, you will see areas of your diet where you can make big changes, and you’ll track any stressors that may cause you to eat when you are not really hungry.
Make smarter beverage choices. Men consume about 30 percent of their calories from beverages. Women, on average, consume about 25 percent of their daily calories from beverages. Diet drinks aren’t always good choices, so stray away from these types of drinks. Try switching to water, unsweet tea or black coffee. If you like juices, swap to selections made from real fruit.
Change your after-dinner snacks. These snacks can be diet busters — think mindless eating for chips, pop and ice cream. Opt for healthier options like cut up fruit or vegetables
Make exercise accessible. When you are heading to work, school or somewhere else, pick a parking spot that is furthest away, and then walk an extra lap around the parking lot. If you are using a Fitbit or other step-counter, remember 10,000 steps a day is the goal for general fitness. If you are trying to lose a few pounds, 15,000 steps should be the goal.
Take advantage of the new Lamar loop. This is a great place for you and your family to walk, run or bike. The loop is 6.2 miles, so build up slowly, and by summer’s end, you will be able to complete the entire loop!
Exercise while your kids (or grandkids) are exercising. If you have children or grandchildren in sports during the summer, this is a great time to work out. Walk around the field while they are practicing or bring a mat and do some planks or push-ups. Take advantage of the time and avoid sitting in the car or on the sidelines.
Weigh in. You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you are starting. Weighing in allows you to make adjustments if you see any spikes in weight. Sign up for the Weigh and Win campaign and make a few dollars losing weight. You can stop by the Wellness Center at Lamar Community College or by the Lamar Community Building to weigh in or get started. Or simply weigh in on your home scale; but make sure you utilize the same scale every time.
Summer is a great time to kickstart good eating and exercise habits. Make a few small changes that you can maintain over time. Add new habits every 20 to 30 days and think long term. Setbacks are going to happen, but this is the time to double down, and come Labor Day, your fitness level will improve and your weight will be down.