Summer is tons of fun but too much playing around can show up on your hips, thighs, and tummy. With distractions like outdoor concerts, backyard BBQs, pool parties, picnics, and summer vacations, it’s easy to put your regular fitness activities on the back burner and move your plans for healthy eating to the side. If you’ve found yourself enjoying too many ball park hot dogs, French fries, burgers loaded with everything, and homemade apple pie or peach cobbler with ice cream, time to set the fat aside and get back into your healthy bikini lifestyle. Here’s how to quickly recover from those waist-widening summer binges.
Top 10 tips to recover from summer binges & diet blowouts
1. Get your mind in gear
Whether you’ve blown it with too much food and cocktails for one day, one week, or the entire summer, it’s important not to be super hard on yourself. Over-indulging is natural. Beating yourself up will only encourage you to let your overeating go too long and too far, resulting in more feelings of guilt and maybe even depression. Keep a positive attitude and make a pact with yourself to get back on the bikini bandwagon.
2. Get your body in gear
Even though there are plenty of opportunities to exercise outdoors during the summer, often we find ourselves relaxing lazily on the beach, sitting poolside, and blowing off even our favorite exercise classes. Regular, moderate exercise helps keep you focused on eating healthy foods and keeps your metabolism burning off the calories you consume, even when you are resting. If you’ve found yourself enjoying a little too much poolside time without doing any swimming, pick a day — sooner rather than later — and get back on your exercise plan. And if you didn’t have one before, pick a day and start one. Walking 30 minutes a day is a good place to start. Invite a friend or two along and before you know it, you’ll have walked an hour while chatting the minutes and calories away.
3. Don’t procrastinate any longer
Have you fallen into the diet excuse trap of saying, “I’ll start tomorrow” or “I’ll start this weekend or Monday” and then before you know it, months have gone by and you are still where you started — fat and frustrated? Make it your goal to get beach-worthy and live a bikini lifestyle starting today. Even if today means merely passing on the strawberry shortcake and swimming five laps in the pool, it’s a great start.
4. Substitute healthier foods for your fattening faves
The foundation of a bikini lifestyle is enjoying the delicious flavors of food without consuming excess fat and calories and of course, getting regular exercise. Believe it or not, healthy foods really can pack in tremendous flavor! Try a few of my favorite flavorful low-fat, low cal substitutions you can make every day.
5. Out with full-fat mayonnaise
Now is the time to ditch full-fat mayo and replace it with non-fat mayonnaise or Nayonnaise (soy-based mayonnaise). Substitute these non-fat versions in your favorite dips and sauces and instantly cut out fat and calories. Afraid your dish will lack flavor? Add a boost of flavor with a little fresh lemon zest and a pinch or two of cayenne pepper. Your tastebuds will wake up in no time!
6. Out with heavy cream sauces
Substitute non-fat milk and non-fat sour cream for heavy cream in recipes, particularly in sauces. If Creamy Fettuccini Alfredo is one of your favorite dishes, use equal parts non-fat milk and non-fat sour cream to get the same creamy texture and flavor you love without the heavy fat and calories. Add more flavor by adding a small pinch of freshly ground nutmeg and chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley or cilantro. Finish your new low-fat fave with a hint of fresh lemon zest when serving.
7. Make a better burger
Substitute lean ground turkey for higher fat ground beef. If that doesn’t sound appealing, start by using half 95 percent lean ground beef and half lean ground turkey. To hold your burger together? Skip the bread crumbs and whole eggs and go for leaner egg whites instead. Add some chopped fresh cilantro, fresh garlic cloves, and a pinch or two of ground mustard and you’ll have a tasty change from the usual fatty burger.
8. Cut the carbs
Skip the bread and go for grilled Portobello mushrooms. Portobellos are so meaty and filling, your tummy won’t miss the carbs from bread. Place portobellos on the grill or under the broiler and use as the bun for your burger or as the bread for a simple grilled vegetable sandwich with turkey. Top it off with a tasty sauce made with non-fat mayo or non-fat vanilla yogurt, my next favorite substitution.
9. Slim down your salads
Non-fat vanilla or plain yogurt is a perfectly delicious and easy substitution for full-fat mayonnaise as well. Use a tablespoon or two in place of mayonnaise in dishes like tuna salad, chicken salad, and pasta salads. There’s so much flavor, a little goes a long way, and you can perk up your taste buds even more with freshly diced celery, a hint of lemon zest, and chopped fresh Italian parsley or even mint leaves.
10. Fiber up
Add fiber to your diet by substituting whole wheat products for traditional pastas, breads, and crackers. At the very least, the fiber will aid in the digestion of foods such as the proteins in your turkey burger, the chicken breast in your sandwich, and the other ingredients in your dish.
Making these simple changes on a daily basis will help you recover from those frustrating summer binges get you back on track to live a bikini lifestyle all the year through!