With the birds singing and sun shining more often these days, thoughts turn to the fun things to come in the warmer months. It’s also a time to start thinking about that summer wardrobe, or more importantly, what the summer wardrobe reveals.
Shedding the sweaters and leggings for shorts and little tops can be a reminder that you may have gotten a little to comfortable with comfort foods over the winter. Rather than panic, do what the bees do and get busy!
As a Clinical Hypnotherapist who works with a lot of weight management clients, there are three times a year that I see an influx of clients for help with weight issues. The first is January, the second is June and the third is the end of October. You see, these are all seasons of change that prompt people to think that the time is perfect to upgrade their health, appearance and life.
In January people are in the new year/new you mindset. They feel that this year will be different and they are ready to let go of what has been holding them back. In June, if they haven't revamped their life after creating a list of new year's resolutions, the lightbulb goes on that summer is here and it's going to be harder to wear layers of clothes, so they better do something about it. The third time is usually around late October. Thanksgiving is weeks away and represents the beginning of the holiday season. What happens during the holidays? Get togethers with people you haven't seen in a year, tons of photos taken and lots of holiday parties. In any of these scenarios, I often hear that they have reached out to me because they have a fear of missing out or being judged by other people.
While these 'reasons' are valid, unless and until you examine how you have gotten to this point, your success will be more difficult. Try journaling every morning or evening to let your feelings out and then, in a few days, read your journal entries back. I also highly recommend meditation, this allows you to simply watch your thoughts go by, without judgement or ownership, and can be very enlightening. Changing your lifestyle will be easier and more lasting when you focus on the why first before the calories.
Speaking of calories...
A few simple tweaks to your diet, without actually ‘dieting’, can make a huge difference in how you look and feel. The first area I like to address with my clients is sugar intake.
Foods sweetened with sugar taste good, create a short mood boost and feel indulgent. I am all for everything in moderation, so have the cake once in awhile, but as part of your daily regime, choose healthier ways to eat sweets.
I am not an advocate of artificial sweeteners like aspartame (brand names NutraSweet or Equal), sucralose (brand name Splenda) or saccharin (brand name Sweet N Low) due to the health risks. There are so many excellent natural choices, I love to use coconut sugar because of it’s low glycemic impact and versatility. I also really love to use honey, especially from small farms. Did you know that bacteria cannot live in honey, it will not spoil and needs no refrigeration? My favorites still tend to be those that are clover based, but just like wine, honey flavor is determined by the source of the nectar and plants utilized by the bees. If you are unsure of your favorite honey flavor, Sandt’s, out of Pennsylvania, offers an amazing three pack of raw, unfiltered Clover, Golden & Orange Blossom.
Another way to help satisfy your sweet cravings is to replace your soda with flavored water. A 12 ounce can of regular soda averages a little over 9, yes 9, teaspoons of sugar!!! (39 grams) That one can of soda can sabotage even the best meal plan! Opt for flavored waters, you can find them in sparkling or flat varieties. You'll feel satisfied because you'll get lots of flavor without any calories or artificial sweeteners, sodium, sugar or anything artificial. Just remember to read the labels! Zero calories doesn't mean no sweetener. It’s important to read labels on any zero calorie flavored water, many have artificial sweeteners that can have negative health side effects.
Swapping out your sugar for natural sweeteners, consuming more fresh fruits and veggies, choosing whole grains are great first steps to feeling comfortable in your shorts and swimsuits again!