WE’RE seven days into August and the holiday season has well and truly started (unless you’re reading this in Australia, New Zealand or South Africa!) I’m constantly hearing people say “I’m a little bit worried about how I’m going to cope with food when I’m on holiday – I usually pig out and I love having a cocktail or two in the evening.”
So I thought it might be a good time to give you a little help on how to get through all the temptations of Summer and stay in control of your weight.I’m sure you know the story – it’s almost as if your mind is saying “Woo hoo we’re on holiday and that means I have permission to eat anything you want to eat – and lots of it!”
Then you get disappointed because you feel like you’ve fallen off the wagon and you beat yourself up.
This time of year can be really difficult and create all sorts of challenges, concerns and anxieties about food and your weight. Most people coming to my Slimpod programme do so after years of unsuccessfully trying to lose weight and have almost been conditioned to what I call “seasonal dieting”.
Here’s how it goes (and do let me know below if you recognise it!).
In January the media lures you into the latest “amazing” weight loss revelation (it’s a diet). You are into it for four to five weeks, lose some weight and then lose motivation – because willpower doesn’t last, sadly.
Then you’re feeling a bit rubbish for the next few months until May/June comes and – yes, you guessed it – the next revolutionary, all singing, all dancing Summer bikini diet is launched!
You’re on that until your summer holiday (around now) and then you just can’t keep it up because it’s Summer and dieting is miserable and boring in the holidays isn’t it?!
All those nice things you’re depriving yourself of while everyone else is having fun and enjoying themselves. So rather than feeling rubbish you break the diet and blame your Summer eating again on your own lack of willpower!
Then you limp along and around October time the media starts up again! “Lose two dress sizes in time for those Christmas parties,” the headlines shout! You hop on because basically you’re losing it to put it all back on again over Christmas…and so it goes on! Nightmare!
If you’re on a Slimpod programme, this may well have stopped already and you’re noticing you’re far more in control.
You’ll also be noticing you don’t want much of the sugary stuff – which is great. However I do know that dieting behaviour is really hard to shift and can sometimes be triggered if you’re not aware of it.
Summer eating and drinking – how to handle it
So here’s a few tips on Summer eating which will give you a boost!
ONE: Summer puts you into what I call a “Summer diet trance state” – in English, this means you’ll be out of routine and be in a very different state of mind. “l’ll just put my weight loss on hold and enjoy myself for a few weeks” kind of trance state!! If you feel this is you – and I know I’ll get lots of comments saying I’m reading your minds – PLEASE PLEASE wake up from that trance and shake yourself off! You don’t need to eat for Britain this month!
TWO: You can still ENJOY the summer AND lose weight. Just be in the right mindset.. The CRUCIAL thing is to build little rewards into your life over the next four or five weeks and don’t let ice-creams, cocktails etc become obstacles to your success and derail you. Lots of people think they’ve blown their healthy eating regime just because they’ve had some ice-cream. This then becomes a very useful excuse to eat, too.
The important thing to remember is this is an automatic pattern of behaviour that’s been running in your life for quite a while and you need to be aware it’s happening before you can do something about it. So if something like this is happening now – chill!. Stop thinking it’s the end of the world because it isn’t! Recognise it’s happening and do something about it.
Use the treats to help with your success instead of letting them make you feel guilty. It’s all in your head after all! Use the treats as a little reward for reaching a mini goal – which could be anything you choose.
If you’re going on a trip then rather than feeling bad after having an ice cream, give yourself permission to have one. It’s truly not going to be the end of the world and when you do this you change your mindset from throwing in the towel and “struggling” to being kind to yourself and honouring the time of year.
Summer eating and drinking really is that simple. If you want a cocktail, have one. You may be surprised and one might be enough. It’s really all about flipping your mindset from “I’ve blown it and I don’t care” to “I’m going to have these little treats but I can still be in control.”
There are people coming back from holidays and rejoicing in the fact that they’ve enjoyed themselves and put on no weight when they would ordinarily have pigged out and be at least 8lbs heavier. The lovely Elaine, one of our Tameside nurses, recently came back from holiday and was so happy because she put no weight on.
Keep up your activity because in the summer we tend to be a bit lazier if the weather is hot. Raise your heart rate for just 15 minutes a day! This will really help to manage the treats too!
So have fun and enjoy your holiday and your Summer eating without worrying!