Welcome to the beginning of Summer! This is a great time of year for San Diego. People who live in other parts of the country (or world) save their money all year to vacation here. We are so spoiled because we get to live here year round! I feel so blessed when I think of that. Summertime in San Diego also means beach and swimsuit season. With that, people are thinking of ways to shed that “winter weight” (remember that yummy comfort food from rainy days). You may be in a similar place, wanting to lose weight or just increase your energy level. Whatever the case, be intentional about doing it healthfully; learn your body, exercise and reduce your stress level.
A few years ago I tried a cleanse for the first time where I eliminated dairy, wheat, processed sugars and caffeine for one full week. It was really hard- the first three days I was irritable and hungry with cravings almost all day. After the third day everything seemed to shift; my natural energy level increased, I didn’t feel bloated and the cravings were going away. By the end of the week I felt so much better, and I didn’t even want to eat some of the unhealthy foods I used to enjoy daily, like my Starbucks habit. I reintroduced each of the eliminated food groups one per day. The day I re-introduced dairy I felt something like a rock in my stomach; I never realized it had always been there, but when it came back I realized it is because of that food! I have never been tested for lactose intolerance but I am now a firm believer that most people have at least a mild intolerance to dairy. I did some research with this new knowledge and learned our bodies aren’t designed to have milk and cheese and yogurt as adults, but our society loves dairy so it is in almost everything. I’m not perfect and I definitely love pizza and ice cream every once in a while. BUT if I have a big day ahead I know not to start my day with a big bowl of cereal with milk and a yogurt. Learn your body!
Another key to losing weight is exercise, of course. I enjoy exercise to a slightly crazy level but that doesn’t mean I am exercising effectively. Last month at Chicktime one of the other volunteers reminded me of something critical; you can’t just run at a constant pace for a long time, it makes you hungry and tired but doesn’t necessarily burn calories. Instead, you have to really push yourself by increasing your heart rate and trying to get better or faster. It was a great reminder for me because I often give myself credit just for “showing up” to the gym and going through the motions. That may be good if you are just getting into the gym to start healthy habits, but if you have goals you need to push it! If you are lifting weights try heavier, if you enjoy classes try new ones, or if you are in a rut try a new kind of exercise! There are so many options where you can work different kinds of muscle groups. The whole point of exercise is to try your best and work your muscles effectively.
The last way I’ll mention to get ready for summer is to reduce your stress level. You may need to sleep more. Do you wake up exhausted? Make it a priority to give yourself the rest you need! Do you get stressed out in traffic or at work? How can you change your attitude or eliminate some of that stress? Try podcasts or happy music or finding an alternative route home from work. You can also plan to have “me” time on the weekends to regroup and mentally prepare for whatever is next. Focus your energy on the right things and you’ll be ready to calmly work through whatever comes your way. Reducing your stress level can also increase your energy level, reduce your weight and improve your overall health.
Once your energy level is back in check and your stress is low, summertime is sure to be a blast as it’s meant to be! Another way to enjoy your summer is to join us at Chicktime! In June we will be taking photographs of (or with) the girls at Casa, and decorating picture frames to accompany them. We will also have lunch, as usual. Please RSVP to Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org by 6/3 if you are going to join. It should be a great event!