Summers are bound to drain the energy out of you. Dolly Kumar suggests some options you can adopt to stay on the path to your health goals during these lethargic times
Summers can be difficult in a lot of ways as the heat has drastic effects on us in the form of heat stroke, sunburn and dehydration among other things. With the soaring temperature, even when most of us are restricted indoors, it is easy to lose focus on our health. Severe sweating can cause an electrolyte imbalance due to the loss of sodium from the body and often demotivates people from working out. The same is followed by a loss of appetite and an absence of cravings for oily, high-calorie foods. These factors can be used to your advantage if you wish to lose weight, by following certain dietary habits and fulfilling the cravings for light and cold foods.
Drink lots of water and healthy beverage alternatives
The best way to remain hydrated in summers is by drinking a lot of water. You can put a sliced lemon and some mint leaves in your water jug for added benefits and flavour. You can replace your tea and coffee with green tea. As per research, if drunk in moderate amounts, it can be as hydrating as water. Its anti-inflammatory properties will help with other summer issues like cooling down the redness and swelling of sunburn, acne or irritation.
Meditate to stay away from stress
It is easy to be irritated and restless during summers due to the unbearable heat. In present circumstances where you are working from home, you can get stressed. All this will affect your mental peace, hence it is recommended to indulge in a long session of meditation to stay away from stress which triggers hormones like cortisol resulting in weight gain. Cortisol doesn’t only cause sugar cravings but also slows down metabolism.
Don’t overeat and add healthy alternatives to your diet
When you lose appetite during summers, it is easy to fill yourself with finger foods or other junk food, often resulting in overeating. To avoid unhealthy food habits, opt for healthier alternatives. Add foods like quinoa, trail mix, seeds, and olive oil to your diet. Not only will this keep you full, but its added benefits will help lose weight. Quinoa is one of the healthiest and most versatile ingredients out there, which is power-packed with nutrients and can be easily incorporated into most dishes. Similarly, incorporating seeds and olive oil will provide you with a fibre-rich diet.
Do yoga and low-impact exercises to remain fit
While it is unimaginable to indulge in a heavy workout during the summer months, you don’t want to lose your gains in terms of weight loss by missing exercise. Hence, do yoga and other low-impact exercises that, apart from helping you keep fit, act as a stress-buster. This can include walking, swimming, cycling or elliptical cardio too.
Reduce sugar intake and replace it with healthy alternatives
We may not want to eat heavy foods but craving cold soft drinks during the summers is something we all succumb to. But it increases our sugar intake, which is the case even when we make smoothies and shakes at home. Instead of using sugar, use healthier alternatives like honey and stevia. Stevia is a non-nutritive and zero-calorie sweetener that is made of steviol glycosides extracted from the leaves of a plant with the same name. It is known to reduce calorie intake, blood sugar levels and risk of cavities.
For your hunger pangs, always keep healthy snacks and cookies with you, especially if you are diabetic. Sort out your snacks for midday, post-lunch, midnight in the form of trail mix, cookies and granola bars. It will deter you from indulging in eating unhealthy snacks.
Start your mornings with healthy food
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. How you start your day essentially determines the rest of your day. It is recommended to start the morning with light and healthy food like corn flakes or muesli. It will keep you filled for longer and won’t be heavy on the gut. One can also go for summer fruits as they will keep you hydrated as well.
In a nutshell, keep yourself at ease with light foods and exercises. You wouldn’t want to miss out on healthy ingredients in your diet, therefore incorporate them into your food in different ways. It is possible to have a tasty and healthy diet at the same time.
(The author is director and founder of an entrepreneurial venture in the wellness and skincare space.)