Canadians would agree that summer is the one season that seems to fly by the fastest, but we sure know how to make the most of it by filling our days with barbecue parties, outdoor festivals, cottage weekends, and drinks on a patio. I advocate living a balanced lifestyle and it’s no lie that avoiding these social occasions would make for a rather dull summer. Below I share with you practical tips on how you can slim down while still having all your fun under the sun.
1. Cleanse your insides
Twice a day, before a meal, drink one cup of warm water with the juice of half a fresh lemon or one teaspoon of apple-cider vinegar. This well help improve your digestion as well as give your liver a gentle cleanse.
2. Eat your last meal before sunset
Giving your body a daily 12 hour break from food will give you a noticeably flatter belly. Why? Because your digestive system is much stronger during the hours of sunlight, so it’s much more equipped to effectively metabolize the foods you eat. By giving your body a rest from digesting, it spends its time working on repairing and re-energizing itself for the next day instead.
3. Stop inhaling your food
Eating should always be done at a slow pace, while seated, and without any distractions (apart from enjoying it with good company). Keep in mind that your stomach doesn’t have teeth so make sure you chew your food until it becomes paste-like before swallowing (it’ll also help make sure you don’t wind up with a food baby!). Take note that the brain doesn’t get the signal that your stomach is full until about 20 minutes after your first bite. Eat slowly and you’ll realize you likely don’t need as much food as you think you do.
4. Get more shut eye
Constant sleep deprivation may cause an increase in cortisol levels (AKA the stress hormone) and an increase in insulin, which can cause your system to store fat rather than burn it. On top of that, your ghrelin levels rise (the hunger hormone) when you are tired, causing you to make poor food choices or overeat. Commit to getting at least seven to eight hours of good quality sleep every night to keep your hormones in check.
5. Incorporate raw foods at every meal
Make a conscious effort to start cutting out all processed or packaged foods and swap them for uncooked fruits and vegetables at every meal. It can be something like a green smoothie for breakfast, a chopped vegetable salad with grilled salmon and small baked sweet potato for lunch, and a large salad with quinoa for dinner. If you tend to bloat after eating raw foods, lightly steam them or add spices that support digestion like cinnamon, cayenne, and ginger.
6. Stick to the grill
At your next barbecue party, stick to grilled veggies, go bunless with your burger, and load most of your plate with green salad. Replace the potato or pasta salad with healthier carb options. I usually bring my homemade quinoa salad, hummus, roasted beet and carrot salad, or plantains for grilling. Want dessert? Grill up some pineapple with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, or make my Watermelon Jalapeño Popsicles for a spicy and refreshing treat (recipe down below!).
7. Choose your booze
I would be a silly nutritionist to expect the majority of my clients go the entire summer without enjoying a sip of cold beer or a fancy cocktail. Truthfully, there’s no place for alcohol when trying to lose weight or build muscle (same goes for processed foods!), however, I advise them that if they do decide to enjoy alcohol, the limit is one boozy beverage a week – that’s it. I know, I’m sorry. Rule of thumb is to choose clear alcohol, like vodka, gin, tequila, or rum, watered down with a squeeze of lime or lemon. Steer clear of any artificially sweetened or flavoured drinks.
Watermelon Jalapeño Popsicles
A sweet and spicy summer treat! Hot peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels after a meal and relieves sinus congestion, but be careful not to rub your eyes while handling spicy peppers! Watermelon has everything you need to beat scorching summer heat as it is packed with almost 92% water! It’s an excellent source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps provide protection against cardiovascular disease as well as protect your skin from ultra violet (UV) damage. Not to mention, watermelon is also rich in an amino acid called L-citrulline (which your body converts to L-arginine), an essential amino acid that helps soothe sore muscles. Another round of boot camp, anyone?
3 cups of fresh watermelon, cut into 1 inch chunks
4 TB freshly squeezed lime juice
3 TB raw honey, or coconut nectar, or dark maple syrup
about 2 inches of green jalapeño, thinly sliced
Using a blender, blend only the watermelon, lime juice and sweetener. Toss the jalapeños into the jar then place in fridge for about 30 minutes to let the spiciness infuse into the mixture. Pour into popsicle moulds and place them in the freezer to let them set. Enjoy!
If you are looking for a kick start to achieve your health goals, I offer meal plan services that are customized to work exclusively for your body in order for you to get the best results you deserve.