The author on the beach with her Golden, Zuke.
Things to cut out immediately include anything in a bright colored package with a cartoon character on it, bread, grains, baked goods, and sweets of any kind.
The end of summer is bittersweet; days get shorter, the weather gets cooler, and kids are back in school (that is the sweet part, depending on who you are talking to). For me personally, I end summer with a classic case of burnout. If I were a car, I would be speeding towards the finish line with bald, screeching tires, leaving a cloud of smoke in my wake. Maybe some of you saints are able to maintain your willpower while the summer devil dances on your shoulder. I commend you if you are one of them. I certainly am not. To me, summer is like the friend you hang out with who you know is a terrible influence, but you justify it because they are moving away in three months. Of course, I love summer like any true Long Islander, but my love affair with summer ends like any good summer fling – I promptly ditch the person and quickly forget all the good times we had. All joking aside, if the arrival of fall has inspired you to make some changes (for the better), here are a few simple steps to start taking. Instead of setting an unrealistic goal, like losing 20 pounds in two weeks (C’mon, people!), try making small, lasting changes, to reap big rewards. And of course, they are all “primal approved.”
Life, especially in New York, has one speed – supersonic. If you work at a desk job, you are familiar with your ass being glued to a chair and your eyes being glued to a computer screen for hours on end. By failing to move for so many hours, you are doing both your body (most of us know this) but also your mind a disservice. Studies have shown that our brain is only capable of focusing successfully on a single task for 20 minutes without becoming distracted. Your goal should be to remove yourself from the digital black hole that is your computer screen every 20 minutes for a couple of minute breaks. Go for a quick walk (outside preferably), skim through a magazine, go hide in a closet – whatever you need to do to give your mind a few minutes to recharge. You’ll feel refreshed, your quality of work will improve, and your boss will be happier with your output – it’s a win/win.
Cut Out Sugar
After the eating and drinking s–t show that summer is, fall is the perfect time to tighten the reins on your food consumption. There is no better way than to substantially reduce your sugar intake because in the simplest terms possible, sugar = insulin spike = fat storage = 🙁 Things to cut out immediately include anything in a bright colored package with a cartoon character on it, bread, grains, baked goods, and sweets of any kind. Fruit is still okay, just don’t go crazy and OD on it. By simply eliminating sugar from unnatural sources, you will be making a truly huge improvement in your health.
If you have a dog, walk him. If you don’t have a dog, go buy one. A dog is the cutest reason to go for a walk you will ever find. If you don’t want to get a dog, put your spouse on a leash and walk. An AM walk is a great way to start your day – exposing yourself to the sunlight causes the body to release cortisol, which is naturally released in the morning to cause wakefulness. Walking after meals is also extremely beneficial. As short as a five-minute walk after you eat can reduce your insulin response to your meal by up to 50%. And lastly, instead of sitting in front of the TV listening to nonsense, a light night stroll helps you to clear your mind and unwind after a long day. All these little walks add up and help to improve overall health and happiness.
Local, organic produce is a gift you give to your body. Local is so important because it eliminates travel – the farther your produce has to go, the more likely it is to have preservatives and other chemicals to keep it from going bad. Local also ensures that you are eating produce that is in season. Of course, this is impossible all year round, but farmers markets typically stay open till late November giving you plenty of time to continue to stock up on local goodies.
Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
Now that you threw out all your sugary snacks, even the hidden backup pack of Oreos. You need to restock with healthy snacks and keep them on hand. They can come to the rescue when you are starving beyond belief and need a quick fix. Keep them close by where you can get at them, like in a bag in your desk at work. These are some of my favorite “primal approved” snacks: almonds, raw carrots/celery, guacamole (mini packs from Costco are great), beef jerky (brands like Epic – not the basic gas station ones), hard boiled eggs (boil water, add eggs for 9 minutes, run under cold water, peel and enjoy), and occasional dark chocolate (85% or more cocoa – the higher the better!)
Trust me; these few small changes are easy and can help you enjoy a healthier fall. Providing you keep your hands off the Halloween candy!
About the Author
Jourdan Brown is a Certified Primal Health Coach and Group Exercise Instructor. She also manages the Front Desk and the Cycling programs at Fitness Incentive.