30 Days to Summer

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By Stefani Senior

Stefanie is a registered dietitian who specializes in weight management, sports nutrition and chronic health conditions. Stefanie managed and taught the Steps to Less™ Weight Management program at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto for three years and currently offers consulting services and online video counseling.

It's bathing suit season again and that time of year when we all want to feel and look our best! It's also a great time to set some personal health goals and build healthy habits that will carry on into the fall and winter.

To get started, it's important to clearly define your summer health goals and determine what needs to change in your life in order to achieve them. This could include aspects of your diet, exercise regimen, behaviour, thoughts, attitude or lifestyle. 

The next step is to create a personal action plan that will help you make permanent positive changes slowly over time. Remember that change takes time, commitment, patience, and internal motivation. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your progress to avoid feelings of disappointment or failure. 

Each time you set a goal, you should be 80% sure that you can attain it. Each small success will bring you satisfaction and enhance your self-confidence and motivation to continue on.

There are several small changes that you can make to your lifestyle that can make a significant impact on your energy, mood, weight, and overall health and wellbeing. 

If you start with a few changes and build on them steadily over time, you are guaranteed to see long-term results. Remember that change takes practice and you are going to slip-up from time to time.

Let's face it, the summer is a challenging time of year to stay on track. We are constantly staring into the eyes of temptation with barbeques, patios, weddings, and weekend getaways. Be nice to yourself and accept that you can't be perfect nor do you need be perfect to reach your goals. 

Slip-ups can be helpful if you take each experience as an opportunity to learn what you could have done differently or what you can do differently in the future. 

There are all sorts of information out there on diet, exercise, and weight loss, which can lead to confusion and frustration when you have specific health goals in mind. 

When clients come to see me for the first time, I often hear "I don't know what to believe" or "I don't know where to start". 

For the next 30 days, I will offer daily diet and exercise tips to help us all think about and take action on our summer health goals. You will find that there are some things you are already doing, some things that you are willing to do and some that you are not willing to do to reach your goals. 

Keep in mind that you don't have to use every single tip to achieve success and that any change that you make and stick to is progress. Your objective is to establish a more balanced, healthy lifestyle that you feel comfortable following long-term and confident it is the right fit for you. 

Every day in June a new tip will be revealed here and in Live Right Now's "30 Days to Summer" Facebook Event. When you join the group and share your summer goals, advice or questions, your name will be entered into a random draw for a free one hour Skype nutrition consultation with me.


Here's how the weeks break down:


WEEK 1:  DETERMINE YOUR SUMMER GOALS

(a natural place to start, regardless of of the kind of goal you want to set or where you are in your health journey)

June 1 - Set your ULTIMATE goal

June 2 - Identify the benefits of achieving your goal

June 3 - Determine what needs to change

June 4 - Set process goals

June 5 - Determine your personal measures of success

June 6 - Identify roadblocks and solutions

June 7 - Tell a friend

June 8 - Build a personal accountability system

June 9 - Pencil in health


WEEK 2: BUILD A MENU

(for family meal planning, while eating at work, on the road or on vacation)

June 10 - Keep a detailed food diary

June 11 - Set a calorie budget

June 12 - Think of your day as an upside down pyramid

June 13 - Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up

June 14 - Include protein at breakfast

June 15 - Set a meal and snack schedule

June 16 - Include at least one cup of vegetables at both lunch and dinner


WEEK 3: CONTROL HUNGER AND CRAVINGS 

(if you can't use at least a few of these tips, we are jealous)

June 17 - Stay satisfied with protein

June 18 - Fill up on fibre

June 19 - Eat your vegetables first

June 20 - Eat an apple before or after a meal

June 21 - Avoid added sugar

June 22 - Take 20 minutes to eat your meals

June 23 - Replace your craving


WEEK 4: BOOST ENERGY & METABOLISM 

(it's worth the work to get to this stage)

June 24 - Find an activity that you love and stick with it

June 25 - Build metabolism-enhancing muscle

June 26 - Step up your workouts

June 27 - Energize pre-exercise

June 28 - Refuel post-exercise

June 29 - Fit in physical activity whenever you can

June 30 - Don't run on empty

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