The ice cream stands are shutting down and the pools are closing, I actually have a sweatshirt on as I am writing this. I guess that means it’s time to shift gears and start focusing on getting in shape now that summer is over. Don’t worry thought; it’s not a bad thing. The party is not over.
As summer winds down we tend to start organizing ourselves, getting more structured. Summer is a very loose and relaxed time of year. We keep loose schedules, we allow ourselves lots of freedom and we generally throw discipline out the door until we see the first leaf fall. It’s healthy to relax a bit; we can’t be structured all the time. Life is meant to be lived. It’s okay to indulge once in a while. Just as we benefit from relaxing we also benefit from structure. So how do we switch our mindset from the glorious land of late nights and poolside ice cream to setting the alarm clock and implementing a schedule?
Before I go any further, let me suggest that we switch our mindset. Getting back on track and introducing structure is not a death sentence, it has value and we can actually enjoy it if we allow ourselves. We can feel very accomplished when we complete tasks and meet goals. That type of energy has a momentum all its own. If you don’t believe me just think about the last time you avoided doing something you dreaded and put it off for weeks or months. How did you feel? Now think about the last time you set out to accomplish a task and you nailed it. How did you feel? See what I mean?
So with that in mind here are 5 simple tools to help you get your groove back.
- Enlist support. Ask a friend to join you in your quest. We get by with a little help from our friends (really bad Beatles reference but I couldn’t resist). Seriously though, studies show that people have more success adhering to a fitness/ nutrition program when they have social support. You can make your plans for the week and share them with each other. Speaking of plans…….
- Set a good goal. Goals can support us or set us up for failure so make it a SMART Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Timebound. Goals keep me accountable. To track my progress each night before I go to bed I will either do a mental or a physical checklist, asking myself 3 simple questions:
- Did I meet my goals today?
- What did I do well today?
- What can I do better tomorrow?
3. Prep your food. We all know it’s important to have our fridge and pantry stocked with good food but don’t just buy a bunch of healthy stuff without actually planning your meals. Make sure you choose high quality foods. Make breakfast and lunches ahead of time and pack them in containers to take on the go. Cut up veggies and fruit and store them in tupperware for easy snacking. Macronutrients are important, keep them in mind during prep.
- Start each day out right by doing a quick 4-minute Tabata workout before work or school. Tabata drills are short and effective workouts that will increase energy and provide a positive mindset for the day. You can find some sample Tabata workouts here.
- Just don’t quit. Give yourself a chance. If you fall, get back up. Just because we mess up does not mean we have to keep messing up (talking to all my binge eaters out there). We have to forgive ourselves and move on otherwise we can get lost in an avalanche of Ben and Jerry’s. When you get that instinct to quit ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Am I hungry?
- Is it smart?
- How much do I need?