It’s the middle of summer (aka swimsuit season!), and you’re pumped to work out every day, eat healthy and become a total beach goddess with a killer bod. You’re super motivated and you promise yourself that you’ll stay on track… which lasts approximately three days. Then you’re bored and back on the couch. What gives?
Most collegiettes give up their summer diet-and-exercise plan because it’s bland and boring. But it doesn’t have to be! Check out Her Campus’s ways to shake up your diet so you’ll be motivated all summer long.
1. Swap ingredients for healthier (but still yummy!) meals
Your Pinterest board is bursting with dessert recipes that you actually have time to try… except you just started your diet. For a lot of collegiettes, the word “diet” is synonymous with salads, no chocolate and general sadness. But just because you’re dedicated to eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favorite foods! By swapping out fatty or high-calorie ingredients for healthy ones, you can still enjoy your favorite meals while staying on track with your diet.
“You are what you eat,” says Lauren Miga, a registered dietitian and personal trainer. “Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand; eating healthier results in more effective workouts and overall better health.”
Some of the most common swaps include Greek yogurt for heavy cream or sour cream, avocado puree for butter and spaghetti squash for pasta. Even just switching from white rice to quinoa or ground beef to ground turkey can improve your diet and make you feel better about your meal choices. Here’s a recipe so you can try out your healthy culinary skills!
Creamy Mac and Cheese (with Greek yogurt instead of cream)
From Cooking ala Mel
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups) whole-wheat elbow pasta
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Cook macaroni according to the package’s instructions.
- Place the spinach leaves in the bottom of the strainer and pour pasta over top to drain and wilt the spinach. Save ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Return cooked macaroni and wilted spinach to the pot. Add ¼ of the reserved pasta water to the pot and stir in cheese until melted.
- Stir in Greek yogurt, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper until smooth. Stir in remaining pasta water to thin if necessary.
2. Buy some cute workout clothes
Let’s face it: one of the main reasons you started your diet is because it’s an excuse to buy that super-cute leggings/tank combo. No judgment here! Every girl has the right to look hot going to the gym. Buying the right (fashionable) items to work out in can encourage you to actually exercise.
Megan Shuffleton, a junior at Emerson College, knows this firsthand. “Invest in some cute workout clothes!” she suggests. “You’ll be more motivated to show off at the gym and you’ll just feel better, allowing you to perform better.”
Need some fashion inspiration? Rock this Fierce Tank ($24.99) and channel your inner Beyoncé. Pair it with these cool tie-dye shorts (lululemon, $54) and lace up some hot-pink Nike kicks ($100). You’ll be working out and looking great in no time!
3. Grab a buddy and bring on the competition
You know who makes anything more fun? Your friends! Or your mom. Or maybe a sibling. Try working out or sticking to a diet with someone else. Shannon Zhu, a junior at NYU, is currently summer dieting and loves having a buddy. “My mom is my home buddy and we make sure the other doesn’t binge so we stick to our diet,” she says. “I also have a friend that I do INSANITY workouts with. Having someone to hold you accountable really helps!”
Take it to the next level by adding some friendly competition. “Have a fitness challenge with your girlfriends,” suggests registered dietitian Brooke Schantz.“Sign up for a 5K or participate in a charity cyclathon to motivate and push yourself.”
See who can run the fastest mile or swear off ice cream the longest. Make a bet that the loser has to cook a healthy lunch for everyone or clean the whole apartment, and have a new challenge every week to keep it interesting. Want to step it up even more? Consider joining a summer sports league with your friends. It’s a great way to spend time together, and the competition will motivate you to work hard all summer long!
4. Switch it up
One reason why collegiettes quit their diet or exercise plan is because they do the same thing. Every. Single. Day. How could you not get bored?
“Trying new foods and new routines is great,” says Julia Flaherty, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. “Discovering what works for you can sometimes be a process, but once you've figured it out, it's easy to stay there. I love engaging my core and I’m a big fan of walking and jogging!”
With the great summer weather, take your workouts outside! “Some of my favorite outdoor workouts is walking with a friend and doing body-weight exercises every 10 minutes,” says Melanie Ludwig, owner of Prestige Fitness “Lunges, squats and push-ups against a park bench are a great way to be outside and tone up those problem areas.”
Miga suggests researching themed running events, like a Color Run, a mud run or a Glow Run to spice up your workout. Try paddleboarding if you’re near a body of water, or check out hiking trails in your area. Sometimes local recreation facilities and park districts offer free outdoor yoga classes or dance lessons. Even activities like gardening, walking your dog or roller-skating can be forms of exercise. Whatever you decide to do, just get outside and beat your boredom!
5. Get techy
Looking for something a little more 21st century? “There have been numerous studies showing that keeping track of your progress increases the likelihood of reaching fitness goals,” Schantz says. “Good thing there are so many fun and user-friendly apps to help us out!”
Check out Fooducate, whose app allows you to scan barcodes at the grocery store for a “health grade,” detailed product info and healthier substitutions. This way, you can make all those new healthy recipes!
Another app, Pact, actually pays you for working out, eating more veggies or logging your food, depending on which Pact you choose. Each week you can set a goal, and every time you track your food, eat your veggies (verified with phone photos) or go to the gym (verified with your phone’s GPS), it pays you! However, if you don’t make your goals, money is taken from your “bank.” Now that’s what we call motivation!
Want to work out for a cause? Download Charity Miles, where you can choose from dozens of different organizations to raise money for. You can earn up to 25 cents for every mile you run, walk or bike.
If you use music to pump yourself up, then definitely check out jog.fm, which finds music to match your pace. We can barely put down our phones as it is, so why not use them to reach your fitness goals?
Whether you’re trying to eat more veggies or you’re training for a half marathon, sticking to a healthy-living plan is hard work. Say goodbye to your boring summer diet and change it up with these tips. And don’t give up! This is the summer of a healthier, happier you.