My Summer Wellness Routine — 5 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Health + Fun Before The Season Ends
If seasons were spirit animals, mine would be summer.
The longer, lighter, warmer days are prime time to take advantage of outdoor workouts (hello hiking), enjoy BBQ’s and social gatherings al fresco with friends, slow down and relax (just give me a hammock and a good book), travel, indulge in delicious seasonal fare like this nectarine, heirloom tomato + basil salad and wash it all down with a glass of rose. Pure bliss.
The only thing I’m not so wild about with summer is how quickly it goes by! I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun — which I’ve certainly been doing a lot of.
But as a nutrition + healthy lifestyle coach, I’ve found that many of my clients struggle around creating a healthy balance during summer season.
Their social calendars are packed — and while they love partaking in summer soirees, ice cream and trips to the beach, they also feel guilt or anxiety around indulging in these seasonal events that they identify as a barrier to their wellness or weight loss goals. This guilt can lead to restriction, detoxing or dieting to “get back on track”, which is usually followed by “cheating” or “falling off the wagon.” Long story short — this mindset and behavior can perpetuate a vicious cycle that is anything BUT healthy or sustainable.
While each client (and person) is totally different and what works for one individual may not work for another, I empower many of my clients to attain their long-term health and wellness goals by breaking them down into small, simple actions that are easy to incorporate into their daily routines.
For example — a goal of losing 40 pounds or running a marathon can seem pretty overwhelming at first, but when you break this goal down into specific non-negotiable behaviors you can do daily — like eating veggies with each meal, swapping your diet coke for la croix or simply lacing up your sneakers and running for 10 minutes — it seems a lot more attainable. These simple actions will eventually become habitual, making it easier to adopt other healthy habits while growing existing ones (i.e. drinking water in between meals, running for 20 minutes instead of 10, adding in yoga to balance out the running, etc.).
My intention for this summer was to have as much fun AND feel as good as possible while doing it — and through these simple rituals I’ve been able maintain a healthy balance this season (while saying yes to rose, coconut ice cream and burgers).
We still have a few weeks of summer left, and these routines may or may not vibe with you — and that’s totally okay. But I hope you’ll draw inspiration from them, or at the very least start to think about what small actions you can start daily to look and feel your best — and ultimately live your best life.
1. Take Your Workouts Outside —
I love staying active and mixing up my workout routine with high-intensity classes like crossfit and lower-intensity yoga sessions. But this summer I put most of my memberships on pause and just made an effort to do something active outside almost every day. Some days I hiked, ran, or walked with my dog and other times I caught a yoga class outdoors (if you haven’t tried this I highly recommend it). I also occasionally paddle-boarded, rode bikes or played tennis with my hubby.
There are so many options when it’s nice outside and it doesn’t have to be some hardcore workout for you to reap the benefits. Anything that sounds fun or like play is a good option — kickball or tag with your kids, walking to get a coffee with friends in the morning, or getting out for a swim. Just make an effort to get outside when possible and enjoy this time of year before it’s gone!
2. Eat Seasonally —
Summer is abundant with nutrient-dense produce that tastes ah-mazing and has serious health benefits. Think zucchini, asparagus, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, fresh herbs, butter lettuce, watermelon, berries, peaches — all incredibly hydrating and loaded with antioxidants and fiber. I’ve also kept my meals super simple, opting to either toss together quick salads with the ingredients above or throw wild salmon, marinated organic chicken and grass-fed lamb on the grill.
BBQ’ing is such an easy way to get outside and away from the kitchen — and I also highly recommend dining al fresco and inviting friends over when your schedule allows. I notice I’m much more mindful about my food intake (allowing me to listen to my satiation cues and stop eating when I’m full) when I’m eating outside and engaging in conversation with friends vs. shoveling my food down in front of the tv. This leads me to….
3. Listen To Your Body + Hunger Cues —
I know — this is can be such a vague, frustrating recommendation and it truly takes time and effort to cultivate. But if you begin to pay close attention to your eating patterns you’ll get to know yourself better and eventually start listening to what you really want other than what our culture or other people dictate — which is a crucial step for eating intuitively and developing a healthy relationship with food.
Take for example the concept of breakfast — some say it’s the most important meal of the day. While I believe a healthy breakfast or morning routine is helpful to adopt, I also believe it’s really important to listen to your body. With my schedule and the heat this summer, I’ve found my appetite doesn’t build until later in the day with lunch and again later at night once the weather cools down. Instead of forcing myself to eat a breakfast I really don’t want I’ve been starting my mornings off with a ton of water and bullet-proof coffees with collagen and MCT oil. Then I eat a nutrient-dense lunch later when I’m ACTUALLY hungry.
I want to be super clear I’m not advising you to skip meals or copy my routine, but rather pay attention to your own hunger cues. I DO recommend drinking a glass of water first any time you feel hungry, as dehydration can often be confused with hunger. I also like to ask my clients if they are hungry enough to eat a plate of grilled fish and vegetables. If the answer is yes, you’re most likely hungry. If it’s no and you just want a sweet treat, you’re probably not experiencing physical hunger but rather emotional or habitual cravings. If this is the case for you, let’s talk 🙂
4. Upgrade the Summer Foods You Love —
With the heat I’ve been craving a lot of cooling and hydrating foods (ice cream, smoothies, salads, etc.) however cold foods and liquids tend to be harder to digest and some of them aren’t always the most optimal for our health.
So I’ve been turning to simple hacks like steaming my veggies before I freeze them for smoothies or making my own “nice cream” with cacao powder, cashew butter and frozen bananas. I’m also loving blending some cold brew coffee with collagen, MCT oil and coconut cream for a healthy twist on an iced latte. I encourage you to think of the foods you love and crave during the season and find simple ways to upgrade them in order to be kinder to yourself and your body.
Love pizza? Try making your own crust or buying one made out of veggies like cauliflower and adding your own toppings (this way you control the ingredients and amount of cheese :)). Is ice cream your jam? Look for an option with as few ingredients as possible or try making your own with the ingredients I mentioned above. Eating healthy isn’t about forcing yourself to eat foods you hate, but finding ways to upgrade what you love so that your foods works FOR your body, not against it.
5. Stick Fiercely To Your Morning + Nightly Rituals —
While I think it’s important to remain fluid and flexible with your routines to a certain point, I also notice a HUGE difference if I skip my morning meditation and warm water with lemon or forgot my magnesium and herbal tea at bedtime.
Start paying attention to how you feel every day, especially in the mornings and evenings. Do you notice you feel energized and awesome when you start your day with a quick workout and liter of water? Are you super sluggish after being up late on your phone and sleeping restlessly as a result? Notice these cues and figure out how to include little hacks into a morning or nightly routine in order to optimize your energy. Summer season can make it hard to stick to a routine with vacations, longer days and later nights and a super busy social schedule — so get clear on the simple things you can do each day to feel your best and make them a non-negotiable part of your routine.
PS — What’s ONE thing you can immediately incorporate into your daily routine that would help you feel better? I’d love to hear — please share below!
Happy healthy summering my love!