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Jump Out of the Summer Slump

By Emily Tual

We've all hit a slump at one point. We started summer strong, working out a little more and eating healthier, but now we're bored of the same routine. It's the downward slope of summer and you're drained from the repetitiveness of your schedule and let's not mention the heat! The same old grilled chicken and steamed vegetables are now tasteless, and you dread having to go through the same workout every day. Twinkies are back and you're seriously considering eating a box for dinner. Don't do it! This slump can be frustrating, but these tips will help you to find more excitement and enjoyment of healthy living.

1. Try a new recipe: Who says eating healthy has to be boring and bland? Thanks to the internet, books, and magazines, you have access to millions of flavorful and nutrient rich recipes. Go out on a limb and try that delicious dinner in an article you read today. Look in health magazines while you wait in line at the grocery store. Whether it is a simple dish, or a complex meal, experimenting with new recipes can be fun and can inspire more ideas for future meals.

2. Change up the workout: When people do the same workout every day, it can become a drag to get ourselves up and moving. Luckily there are so many different ways to stay active. Zumba, kickboxing, spin class, yoga, barre, walking, swimming, biking, and the list could go on. Many gyms offer free trials that could get you access to these types of classes without spending a fortune. No time for the gym? Get outside and take the dog for a walk, or go to the park with your kids. There are even thousands of FREE online workouts that will get you moving. These different options will keep your workouts interesting and, more importantly, enjoyable!

3. Keep the energy up at work: Sitting at a desk all day, believe it or not, can be exhausting. Taking a walk around the office, doing some jumping jacks, go up a few flights of stairs, or even getting up to stretch can help to liven up the day. It will not only burn a few calories, but will also get your blood flowing and increase energy. Many offices have groups that take walks during breaks or lunches. If you don't know of one- start it up! Recruit a few co-workers and watch how the moral and energy level increases.

4. Everything in moderation: Many times when people start to eat healthy, they feel like they can never have the foods they love. This could not be farther from the truth. Moderation is healthier than deprivation. If you love a certain not-so-healthy food, try to cut back from how often you have it. Do not cut it out completely. You can even try to make your own version with healthier ingredients. By eating nutritious foods more often, we train our mind to enjoy them and we train our taste buds to crave them which all helps to lessen the cravings for unwholesome foods.

5. Encourage and be encouraged: This journey should not be traveled alone. Having a spouse, friend, family member, colleague or even an online community to support you is important. Having someone's help and support improves our success. Surround yourself with positive influences and people that will help you to stay on track. Encouraging others helps as well. This builds community and a great atmosphere for growth in all areas of life. Establish a great mindset to live healthier, and love doing it. Who knows, your encouragement to someone else may inspire them to join you on the journey.

Emily Tual is a sophomore dietetics and nutrition major at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. She is volunteering with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano's Clinical Nutrition department this summer.

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