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School's out slimming's out: does your routine change in the school holidays?

The average mum gains 6lbs over the school holidays and half admit they gain weight (I don't know if they bother to survey dads). Most people blame the tempting snacks and treats on offer for children. They find it hard to resist joining in the summertime treats themselves while entertaining their children. 

If you've ever attended a gym in August it's dead. Classes that were previously booked out become unusually easy to get into. Fitness brand Les Mills reports a drop in gym attendance over the summer holidays, observing a 30 percent increase at the end of the school holidays as people start to return to their routine. 

Even if you don't have children yourself the world around you changes during the summer holidays. There's more fetes and events on, all of which offer street food, icecream and snacks. Chances are you're taking holiday during the summer period too. It's easy for those who don’t have children to operate on a school year schedule. 

The question is:

How much do you allow your external environment to influence your behaviour?

Your goals haven't changed why should your behaviour? You still want the benefits of losing weight so why would a change in timetable prevent you from achieving that? What does a change in routine have to do with what you consume?

Some people adopt the mentality of having the summer off, they say looking after children makes sticking to healthy impossible. It's a belief that makes achieving any weight loss goal different for reasons I outlined in this blog. The thing is it's exactly that, a belief.

Gaining weight whilst looking after children isn't inevitable. I've known single parents run a business and look after children over the summer and still lose weight. Of course, it can be a tough challenge but it can be done. Are you using looking after children as an excuse? Could you still take part in all those summer activities and events and still stay on course if you really wanted?

How can I stay on track?

The first question is "what do you get from changing behaviour in the summer?" It's likely that there is a compelling reason for you not to lose weight over the summer. Do you know what it is? What things so you tell yourself about your eating over the summer?

If you're eating too many sugary or fatty foods over the summer what does that mean to you? The odd ice cream is fine but if it's getting to the point where you getting a long way from where you want to be then it's time to reflect. 

Make it a priority. Just because your environment and routine has changed your goal hasn't. Why would a change in routine change what you eat? Decide that healthy eating is part of who you are and make it a priority. When you've made that decision then ensure it's set in stone. From there you've decided that it's going to happen, it's a question of how. 

Which leads us to the question of planning. The change in environment may mean that you'll have to plan more than usual. This can be harder out of your normal routine and even if you don't have children summer brings this feeling of wanting to relax and not needing to worry about your usual routine. However, if your goal is important to you you'll need to do a little more planning to get there. It's a question of making time to make sure you achieve what you want. You'll have to plan meals and snacks in advance as well as making in time for exercise. It may be harder to get to the gym but can you be creative and combine being active with day trips and by walking in the (hopefully) nicer weather.

Summer may bring a change in how you use your time, this is unrelated to what you need to eat and drink. If you chose to eat and drink differently then that is a decision, The question is, what decisions are you making and are they taking you where you want to be?


If you'd like some help exploring how your mindset is helping or hindering you try my Slimming Mindset self-assessment and quiz.

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