The early Summer feels like the best time of year to get fit and drop a bunch of fat.
Beautiful weather, longer days, more energy, and more excuses to get outside.
That, and less and less clothes are being worn as it gets H-O-T here in Cary and Chicagoland area.
I’m not here to burst anyone’s bubble, but I will say this: now is not the best time to start. You see, along with the warmer weather comes warmer weather activities like BBQs, parties, drinking, boating, and patio eating…all onset, it seems, by Memorial Day Weekend.
The best time to start this time of year, if that’s when you’re kicking off your healthy lifestyle, is at least two weeks before Memorial Day. This way, you have time to adapt to your new diet, you’ve began healthy habit building, and you’re ready to tackle the 17 BBQs it seems you’ve been invited to.
So, start building habits now, and keep them pretty tight.
As i’m typing this, it’s barely 65 degrees. Sure, the sun is out, and sure, it was 10 degrees every day this winter, so it feels AWESOME…but, be honest. Two or three weeks from now, it’ll be much nicer, you’ll want to be out much more, so start now so the rest of the summer is more easily enjoyed.
Here’s our three phase program:
Phase 1: Pre-Memorial Day
What do you want to accomplish this summer? Think in terms of May to the beginning of June, and then July, August, and September. Beyond that, it’s time to reassess.
Take out a calendar and decide where the big events are. By now, you should have a vague idea of the happenings you’ll take part of. I already know of 2 parties, two weddings, two vacations (one over 4th of July weekend), and one more weekend that I know won’t be perfect. Grab a calendar and circle the days that could sabotage your goals.
(ex: If my goal was to lose 15 pounds by September, that’s just 1 pound a week. This would be simple without those summer nights, but with them, I will now have to have a plan to make sure those days don’t derail my goals. This is also why it’s important to keep your goals in perspective. Maybe it’s to only lose 5lbs the entire summer. Enjoying everything summer has to offer and still coming out 5lbs lighter is pretty awesome, right?)
Three days prior and one day after each of the days you just circled are going to be lower eating days. It’s best to have your lower eating days planned out, so you go into your big days at a caloric deficit. This means you get to enjoy the day.
Phase 2) What’s Your Memorial Day Plan?
IF your plan right now is to have a total screw up weekend and jump back in on Tuesday, you’re going to be disappointed in your results, because it’s entirely possible to undo weeks of diet in one bad weekend.
Been there, done that. Let’s try something different now. Here’s what we’ll do:
1) Determine where you’re going and what you’ll be doing that weekend.
2) Also determine every meal that isn’t social or part of festivities. These meals NEED to be mostly protein and vegetable based. You want to eat a fair amount here but low calorie options only. The idea is to get full without getting a ton of calories.
3) Pre-plan or at least pre-learn about what it is you’ll be doing. If you know you are having a cheeseburger on a bun, a cup of potato salad, and 5 beers, you can see the caloric content of that (it’s around 1750-2100, by the way). This way, you can be informed about the ‘damage’ you’re doing. Being aware of what we’re doing will automatically make us choose with better intentions.
5) Get up and move more. Don’t sit idly and eat mindlessly. Throw around a frisbee. Go for a walk. Run around with the kids. Have a water balloon fight. Go for a walk each morning. Do more moving. (here are some at home workouts anyone can do to move more).
BONUS* If you know you’ll be attending multiple parties that weekend and much of it will be less then desirable, I’d suggest eating 80% of your normal calories for 3-4 days leading up to the weekend. On a 7-10 day basis, this will help minimize any fat storage.
Phase 3) Move forward
The weekend is over. The damage is done, or the battle was won. Don’t stress it, don’t feel guilty over it, and don’t dwell on it. Just move forward and go back to your success plan you were on before. Train one or two extra days, get in an extra walk in the morning (25-45 minutes at a brisk pace), and then keep burning fat.
One closing note…you should know your numbers.
Be mindful of your indicators. Weigh in/take progress pictures/measure your waistline 3-4 days before the weekend/day begins, then again the morning of, once more the day after, and then 4 days after.
I know, I know…we’re not slaves to the scale. You shouldn’t be, and you’re not. But, you also shouldn’t let one weekend undo an entire month of hard work, so knowing your ‘numbers’ will help keep you honest.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Go into it with knowledge and understanding of how to maneuver your weekend so that you can continue on your path toward fitness, health, and permanent fat loss.