Memorial Day. Swimsuit season. Distressed denim shorts. You don’t scare me.
Don’t get me wrong. I will not be poolside in a bikini rocking six-pack abs. I don’t even think those are genetically possible for my midsection. But I will wear non-capri length denim shorts and my mom bikini, and in both of these I want to feel confident, strong and healthy, not as though I have something to hide. I want my body to reveal I care for it consistently throughout the year and that I’ve put in some work, not that I love pizza.
So, for me personally, what’s the best way to approach pool-season goals? It’s not a crash diet. It’s not counting calories. It’s not stepping on the bathroom scale and berating myself because the digital number flashes two pounds higher than the week before. I’ve found that, for me, these short-term ‘summer-ready’ strategies in the long-term aren’t sustainable or great for my overall mental health.
So, what to do?
I’m re-visiting what works for my body personally. I’m recalling the things I’ve learned over the course of two Whole 30 experiences: That I’m lactose intolerant so for real I should always lay off any and all dairy. That now vegan parmesean is my BFF, so love it and embrace it. That sugar is a drug. That I feel less bloated when I eliminate grains and processed foods. Over the course of the summer, I’ll do a few Whole30-inspired 10-day re-sets eliminating all dairy, grains, legumes and processed foods. Don’t ask me if I’ll eliminate wine because that answer will probably be no.
Along those same lines, when I eliminate certain foods for a little while, it helps me to be more discerning. Even a relatively short fast from sugar always helps make me more mindful when I do choose to eat it. When I step away for a while, I’m more easily able to think about if a treat is ‘worth it’ to me – whether I even want that thing or if there’s something better I’d rather have now or later. So mindlessly eating the kid’s leftover Easter candy: NO. Enjoying a few squares of good dark chocolate: YES.
I’m saying ‘no’ to pancakes. My husband makes the best fluffy old-fashioned pancakes on Saturday mornings with the kids. He makes Mickey Mouse shapes. He adds sprinkles and chocolate chips. It’s his cooking gift, and the kids adore this special time with him. But having goals sometimes means eating my own paleo version of what everyone else is having. And I’m usually okay with that. if it doesn’t involve a ton of extra effort. I love this gluten-free high-protein pancake from Fannetastic Food and it could not be simpler to make.
I’m pinpointing danger zones. Last night I found myself standing before a bounteous buffet of chips and dip at a backyard barbecue. And because I was standing there hanging out with friends, I just kept dipping the gluten-free pretzels and cucumbers in the hummus, one after another. So now I’m reminded that snacking at summer social gatherings can be a slippery slope. Yes, I will enjoy some social snacking this summer, but I can make a plate and step away. I can also pretty effectively convince myself that crunchy veggies like cucumbers, radishes, jicama, or carrots are just as good as chips. It’s like a Whole30 Jedi mind trick.
I’m eating seasonally. As it gets warmer, the nice thing about our bodies is that we crave what’s in season. In the winter, I make a huge batch of healthy soup and eat it for lunches throughout the week because my body craves warm comfort food. Same goes for the summer! I love to meal-prep salads in jars throughout the week or just have lettuce and salad toppings on-hand to mix it up every day. I can sub a veggie for a grain in any meal situation and feel great about it. I’m also super into grilling extra meat and veggies to re-purpose for lunches and dinners through the week. Here are just a few of our favorite meals going into the summer months:
Lisa Oz’s Lemony Kale and Hemp Seed Salad As written, it’s vegan but it’s also amazing with a little goat cheese, apples and walnuts added
Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad by What’s Gaby Cooking pairs well with steak or salmon and you can use the extra chimichurri vinegarette on your meat!
Zucchini Noodles With Creamy Avocado Pesto By Eat Yourself Skinny
Burrito Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice and Paleo Taco Meat by Stupid Easy Paleo. I also make Romaine leaf tacos with meat, veggies and guacamole. Baked tostones are an amazing no-chips option to go with burrito bowls and tacos!
Whole30 Garlic Bacon Avocado Burgers by the Pike Place Kitchen may be my favorite ever burger recipe. Yes you ground raw bacon in with beef and yes it is amazing
Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers by Eat Live Run are a leaner option if you aren’t into beef and bacon
Fritatta with Grated Zucchini, Goat Cheese and Dill from Martha Rose Shulman’s new book Spiralize This!
That’s what I’ll be doing to rock my mom swimsuit with no fear. So if you see me hanging out by the chips and dip, slap my hand or invite me far away to chat with you. What are some healthy swaps you’re making to get ready for summer?