5 Tips to Help you Survive the Summer Months
We are now, what 10 weeks into lockdown here in the UK and Ireland and the summer holidays are just around the corner! It is hard to believe that we will have at least another 12 weeks of the kiddies being off from school in Northern Ireland. My youngest has been off school since the 13th March 2020.
How is everyone coping? Is lockdown having a negative effect on everyone? Are stress levels and anxiety levels high? Is the weather great or not so great? Are the kids/partner driving you crazy yet? How many times have you heard “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do”? The kids won’t get off “fortnight” and get outside? The kids are eating you out of house and home and there never seems to be enough food for them ;-)
On a personal level, how are you coping with eating healthy during this period?
Are you struggling because you are at home all of the time or is it easier for you? Are you fed up going to the fridge/cupboard too often and feel like you have gained 2 stone? Are you looking forward to the coming summer months of being off or are you looking forward to getting back to work and some form of normality?
When it comes to being at home and healthy eating, so many people used to say to me that it was easy for me to lose weight and to keep it off because I worked from home. I have had so many conversations with people about this and lots of people are now realising that, that is not the case.
When food is so readily available at home, it takes a lot to be able to operate self control. Routine definitely helps and so too does eating the right kinds of foods - the ones that don’t cause the cravings to appear. This is where The SMASH Way comes in.
Now that we are coming into the summer months, people tend to say that it is easier to eat healthily, as they don’t mind eating lots of salads. Others will say it is more difficult, as there are too many temptations – ice-creams, cold wine/beer/BBQs/picnics etc.
Which one are you? Do you find it easier during the summer or harder?One of the biggest benefits with my SMASH programmes is that once you reach your ideal weight/health goal, as long as you live by the 90:10 rule, you will be able to maintain your weight for the rest of your life. SMASH isn’t about deprivation, it is about knowing what is right for your body and feeding it accordingly. When you know this, it is freedom when it comes to food and weight management.
If you are on your SMASH journey or just want to get the best out of your body over the coming summer months, when lockdown is eased, what can you do?
Here are a couple of tips to help you to survive the coming months
- Don’t keep your plastic water bottles in the car as when they heat up the plastic bottles can release chemicals into the water that aren’t great for the body. Have a water bottle that is BPA/BPS free. That way you are protecting yourself. Use glass or metal bottles if you can.
- If you don’t like water by itself add some fruit to it. Not only are you changing the flavour, you will also have added health benefits by absorbing some vitamins from the fruit. Strawberries, lemons, limes and oranges are great. To keep it cold, why not half fill the bottle, slice up some fruit and add it to the water bottle. Pop the lid on and then place it on its side in the freezer overnight. In the morning, fill the rest of the bottle with more water and this will mean that you have ice cold, flavoured water for a good chunk of the day.
- Be aware of adding cordials to your water as they tend to be full of either artificial sweeteners or sugar. This can trigger cravings, and artificial sweeteners can have negative side effects on the body.
- Try drinking warm lemon water in the morning when you get up. This is so refreshing and helps with detoxing the body. Make sure that you leave at least 30 minutes after drinking it, to eat.
- Alcohol does not help with hydrating in fact it dehydrates the body. So if you are going to have a alcoholic beverage, make sure that you drink extra water to combat the damage the alcohol is doing. If you are planning a heavy session, I highly advise taking COALZ to minimise the hangover the next morning.
2 Increase Your Intake of Fruit and Veg – Fruits and vegetables are more readily available during the summer months and in some cases less expensive too. Up your intake to boost your micronutrients and therefore all round health.
- Have fresh fruit and veg ready to grab in the fridge if you are peckish. There is nothing nicer than a cold granny smith apple and cashew nuts or Powered Up Peanut Butter (recipe in the SMASH Way Recipe book) as a snack
- If you are eating fruit make sure that you have a good source of protein with it. This will help your blood sugars to remain level and slow down the digestive process.
- The SMASH Way Recipe book has over 120 recipes in it that will help you to easily increase your fruit and veg intake.
3 Get outside and active – Movement is so important when living a healthy lifestyle. In times like these, movement can actually help with your immune function by stimulating the lymphatic system to drain better. During the summer there is no longer the excuse that the weather isn’t good enough to get outside. As my husband says, there is no bad weather, just the wrong clothing.
- Get outside and go for a walk. Even if it is just near your house, the fresh air will do you good. People tend to sleep better when they have had a walk. If you walk for 10 minutes a day, 5 times a week you will feel the benefit. I have been going for a walk every morning during lock down and it feels amazing. It has been wonderful to see how nature has changed over the last 10 weeks. I feel very grateful to have been able to see it.
- Go on an adventure with the kids, even if it is in your own garden. Have fun with them in the garden - have a treasure hunt, plant some seeds or plant some veggies. When you are in the garden, I highly recommend being outside in your bare feet – this has amazing health benefits and helps you to reconnect and “ground” yourself (not your kids, because they have been naughty ). There are so many studies on the benefits of grounding yourself, one of which is lowering stress levels which is highly beneficial at the moment.
- Plan a new walk each week so that you don’t get bored. I know at the moment we are all limited to where we can walk, but even if you take a different road around where you live, it will keep you from getting bored. Last year, we travelled to new place each weekend. The kids loved it. They never knew where we were going and loved the adventure of it all. One Sunday we walked for nearly 2 hours!! We even got to pick some blackberries which was brilliant for the younger kids.
- Take up a new sport - once restrictions are relaxed - when the weather is good. Now is the time to try it out. When the weather is good you don’t mind trying something. Then when you fall in love with it, you won’t mind doing it when the weather isn’t as good.
4 Take time out to relax. When the kids are off things tend to get a little bit crazy for us parents. You need to remember to take time out for yourself!!
- Get a good book and take time out and read a chapter or 2
- Arrange to meet a friend for a virtual “coffee” via a video call and get the kids to play/amuse themselves in a different room
- If you can get away from the kids for an hour or 2 at some stage during the week, I highly recommend it. This is something that we have done during lockdown. Our lives are normally so busy, and they are even more so at the moment with us all being at home, and with me still trying to run my business from home, home schooling, home projects, it felt that Paddy and myself never had any time to ourselves. I had suggested that on a Saturday morning whilst the kids are still sleeping (my kids are 11 and 18) that we go for a walk. It started as a 8.5km walk and now we are doing a 10k walk. It is so lovely to have just “us” time and it is something that I will miss once lock down is over. This is due to football commitments on a Saturday morning. We have chatted about doing the walk at some other time during the week, once things go back to “normal” - I really hope that it is something that we can do as we both really enjoy it.
- Download a meditation app if you struggle to switch off. There are a couple of good ones out there that are free.
- Try to keep your body clock (and the kids’ body clocks) in its natural rhythm. We have to remind ourselves that it is not the school holidays yet, even though it sometimes feels like it. By doing this, it mean that when the kids eventually go back to school, the transition won’t be as difficult. If the kids get to bed at a “normal” time it will also give you time to yourself.
5 Look after your skin. It is so important to protect your skin in the very hot weather, like what we have been having, and I hope it comes back soon. Damage can happen to the skin so easily, especially when the kids are young.
- Use a high quality sun screen. Make sure that it has the 4 or 5 star rating and at least a factor 15. If you are going on holidays somewhere hot, I recommend at least factor 30. Get a mineral based one rather than a oil based one. It is better for you in the long run. If you would like a natural mineral based one, give me a shout and I will let you know the one I use.
- Eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant properties. This is help to minimise the damage that may be caused by the sun.
- Make sure that you moisturise your skin after being in the sun. I use coconut oil as it is light weight, natural and has a natural SPF of 5-8
- I don’t recommend using a total sunblock as the body needs to have some access to sun in order to absorb Vitamin D. In the UK and Ireland there are so many people suffering from Vitamin D deficiencies and the sun is a great way to get it. However, do be careful during the hottest time of the day (11am – 3pm).
The most important thing is that you enjoy the coming summer months, whatever they bring. Try and keep your stress levels low and treasure the time that you have together with the people around you.
If you do get to go on holidays this year, I hope you enjoy them too. Make the healthiest choices available to you and do the best that you can. Know that when you come home that you will be able to get back to your healthy “normal” eating very quickly as your body will be telling you that it wants the healthy foods again.
Yours in Health and Happiness