June 21 is the first day of summer. From middle school kids to college students to moms and dads—it’s a day everyone looks forward to. Thinking about the first day of summer can also conjure feelings of dread—more heat means fewer clothes and all of that unwanted winter weight gain will be there for all to see. Good news—summer isn’t here just yet, so there’s still plenty of time to shape up—in more ways than one.
Before setting out to shape up though, you’ll have to clear your “mental closet.” If it’s cluttered, shaping up will be much more challenging. So, the first step to getting in shape for summer (and beyond) is to balance your life. An imbalanced life can have a significant impact on your diet and the scale by causing:
• Binge Eating
• Emotional/Stress, Erratic Eating
• Poor Food Choices
More good news. We have five tips from a number of experts that can help balance your life and the scale. Here you go:
• Be Present
• Embrace Imperfections
• Let Go
• Move for Mental Health
• Outing Everyday Obstacles
Never underestimate the power of being present. Jennifer Tuma-Young—author, life coach, and creator of the B.A.L.A.N.C.E. program, says when you have a crowded mind filled with too much mental clutter, you feel tired, run down, dull and not very productive, not to mention harried, stressed, and inconsistent. These feelings have a negative impact on your food-life connection because they interfere with your ability to have a healthy attitude toward food and to make self-nurturing eating choices, she says.
Stop and focus on what is immediately in front of you, whether it’s a cup of coffee, a chatty colleague or a clear cerulean sky on a clement summer day. Do not allow yourself to think about anything else while doing something else. Practice mindful moments and you will become a master in no time.
The editors at Health Magazine say silencing your inner critic can be enormously freeing—not to mention a huge stress reducer. Relax your standards just a little and let go of that destructive thing called “perfectionism.” Give yourself the same empathy you’d show a friend, says HM, and see how fast your positive mind will take over and lead you to a healthy mind and healthy choices.
Tuma-Young says letting go is a food-life cleanse that will help release the habits, foods, and out-of-balance life choices that have weighed you down for so long. You can start the cleanse by letting go of foods that make you overeat such as junk food, fast food, and sugar. Replace them with healthy whole foods.
Gradually move into letting go of excess junk around the house, eliminating time vacuums (surfing the net, excessive emailing, talking on the phone), and letting go of unhealthy thoughts and “self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back from being in balance,” says Tuma-Young.
Move for Mental Health
Exercise improves mood, balance and coordination. It reduces the effects of stress on the body, it keeps blood sugar in check, boosts blood flow to the brain, which helps you think more clearly, increases energy levels and helps you sleep better.
Now that you have more time after letting go of certain things, you will have plenty of time to exercise. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day to start reaping the mental and physical benefits well before summer begins!
Eliminate Everyday Obstacles
Tuma-Young says there are four common everyday obstacles that interfere with finding balance in life and on the scale — (1) overscheduling activities/overcommitting, (2) lack of communication at home/work, (3) sweating the small stuff, and (4) putting yourself last.
Forget the small stuff (which zaps energy) and focus on the big picture—what makes you happy. Create an ideal schedule that allows you to do the things you love and consciously think about how to make that schedule a reality. Don’t sit silent. Involve everyone in your life by communicating clearly with certitude and you will get the support you need to make it happen.