The summer holidays are an enticing whirlwind of BBQs, beach days, summer treats, and fruity cocktails. It's a time when we often let loose and indulge in culinary delights without too much worry about our nutrition goals. With the summer sun waning, we are often left looking at the aftermath of our delightful summer indulgences. The beginning of the school year offers a natural opportunity to re-evaluate and refocus on our health and wellness goals thanks to the structure and fresh start mentality that often accompanies this time of year. It's a chance to prioritize our well-being and establish habits that can benefit us throughout the year.
This might sound simple enough, but sometimes it can seem like a monumental task. Moving on from some time off your real-food-focused path is easier said than done. Fortunately, we have 10 great tips on how to recommit and continue reaching our goals.
Getting Back On Track
Don't despair. Before you start, remember you're not alone. Almost everyone faces the post-summer blues and the need to get back on track with a healthy lifestyle. Whether you've gained a few pounds or just lost your healthy habits along the way, there's no better time than now to reclaim your wellbeing.
1. Reflect & Forgive
The first step towards getting back on track is to reflect on your summer indulgences without guilt or self-criticism. This is the most important tip of all - please take this advice to heart, guilt makes nothing better. Instead, it adds a whole lot of perpetual emotion to an already uncomfortable situation, and tends to push you into a place where you’re using terms like ‘failure’ to describe what happened. Guilt takes a blow at your self-esteem and influences the choices you make moving forward. We ALL fail at this sometimes. Acknowledge that it's okay to let loose occasionally; it's a part of a balanced life. Forgive yourself for any overindulgence and commit to moving forward positively.
2. Set Clear Goals
Goal setting is the foundation of any successful endeavor. Define clear and achievable goals for your post-summer health journey. Whether it's shedding a few pounds, improving your fitness level, or simply eating more vegetables, having specific objectives will give you direction and motivation.
3. Start Over – Immediately
Feeling restricted or feeling like you’re under a time limit to squeeze in all that unhealthy eating gives you an excuse to continue on your wayward path. The best time to “start over” is at the next meal. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow or next week.
If you’re feeling uninspired to do so, head to the store or your local farmer’s market and pick up some of the most colourful produce you can find. Get excited to get in the kitchen by looking up a new recipe. Eating a whole plate stacked with delicious, real food can do wonders to hit the reset button. Savour it and enjoy it, to remind yourself of why this way of eating is worth sticking to
Read on here for more on the benefits of eating real food.
4. Meal Planning and Preparation
One of the most effective ways to regain control of your diet is through meal planning and preparation. Dedicate some time each week to plan your meals, create a grocery list, and prep healthy snacks. This not only saves time but also ensures you have nutritious options readily available, making it easier to resist unhealthy temptations.
There is no shortage of wonderful cookbooks and blogs creating amazing recipes to satisfy your hunger. Getting into the kitchen and cooking up some of your favourites, or a few new ones that catch your eye, is the best way to get back on plan. The food is beyond delicious and if you remind yourself of that, you may wonder why you ever fell off the wagon in the first place!
Grab your copy of Chef Pete’s Paleo By Season and get inspired today!
Not big on cooking? Choose delivery
Using a trusted food delivery service can help get you back on track no matter who you are coming from. You can free up some of your time and still eat healthy, seasonal, organic meals, all for less than eating at a restaurant or shopping at your local health food store. Pete’s Real Food can do all your planning, shopping and cooking, delivering delicious meals to your door! Not only does our menu change on a weekly basis, but we change that menu based on what our farmers grow & harvest out of the ground the very week we cook it. We have options for all preferences from Paleo to Vegan to Keto and more.
Check out this week’s menu and order your favorites here >>>>>>
5. Re-Establish Routine
During the summer, routines often go out the window. Eating processed and refined foods may have taken its toll and you probably don’t feel very well physically. Now is the time to re-establish a daily routine that includes regular exercise and a consistent sleep schedule. A well-structured day makes it easier to incorporate healthy habits.
Writing it down can help. The simple act of putting it in writing makes it all the more real and vivid. Write down how much better you feel when you stick to the plan too. A great comparison for future reference!
6. Hydration is Key
Summer often involves an abundance of sugary beverages and cocktails. Rehydrate your body with plenty of water. Simply sipping on a cool, clear liquid can make you feel a little more on track – no need to drink gallons and dilute your electrolytes, but going back to water helps. If the thought of only water is unpleasant, herbal teas (hot or cold) can serve you well too. Try adding some flavor with slices of lemon, cucumber, or berries to make it more enticing. Proper hydration is crucial for overall health and can help curb unnecessary snacking.
Learn all about hydrating appropriately in this post
Getting back on track means flushing out accumulated toxins and there is no question that alcohol is a toxin. Furthermore, given its propensity to lower inhibitions, wine can make it less likely to stick to the plan. A few days (or weeks) of tee-totalling will leave you feeling more clear-headed and healthier.
7. Move Your Body
Get outside and move your body or get back to your gym for a solid workout routine. You might not feel great when you get out there and it probably will not be your best athletic performance. It may even hurt a little at the beginning and you will wonder why you are doing it. Afterwards, however, you will feel the positive effects and be that much further along in ridding your body of the foods that got you into this situation. There is no need for anything with very high intensity, but you do want to raise your heart rate a little and it helps to break a sweat. Moving helps your body digest a little better, it clears your head, and it helps your cells utilize the extra insulin and glucose that might be floating around in your bloodstream. Moving helps get your bowels moving too, always makes for feeling better.
Find a form of exercise that you genuinely enjoy. Whether it's yoga, dancing, hiking, or hitting the gym, the key is to make it something you look forward to. Exercise releases endorphins, lifting your mood.
Get tips on how to move more here
8. Seek Support
Share your post-summer health goals with friends and family. The benefits here are twofold: support and accountability. Promises and commitments made to yourself are often hard to keep as the only place they reside in in your head and it can be easy to pretend you never made them in the first place. When you say it out loud to a friend or a support group, you feel it’s more important to stick to and that much harder to break. Even if you don’t have any in-person friends that support your healthy goals there are numerous groups and forums where most of the time, people are incredibly supportive and helpful, with amazing ideas to help you stay the course.
Consider joining a fitness class or enlisting the help of a personal trainer or nutritionist if you need more structured support.
9. Think Long-Term
Here at Pete’s Real Food, our philosophy and approach to nutrition is more about mastery than figuring out the next ‘quick fix’ or diet ‘hack’. Many people are obsessed with finding the latest ‘hack’ or their ‘silver bullet’. These types of solutions are prolific and many of them are really useful – a great time saving hack for example. There are even cooking and nutrition ‘hacks’ which can truly make your healthy lifestyle more accessible and achievable. Overall, though, we believe the most sustainable approach is to take the long-term view with regards to your nutrition. There are no shortcuts on the journey to being healthy. This is the best way to guarantee lasting results!
10. Celebrate Success
Lastly, celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem. Recognize and reward yourself for sticking to your health plan. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful motivator.
The post-summer return to a healthy diet and lifestyle can be challenging, but it's also a wonderful opportunity to recommit to your wellbeing. By reflecting on your summer choices, setting clear goals, and taking gradual steps towards a healthier you, you can bounce back and thrive. Remember, it's not about perfection; it's about progress and feeling your best self. So, let's embrace the autumn season as a fresh start on our journey to health and happiness.