If you're trying to get fit or stay trim, summer can feel like a nightmare. Of course, spending time with friends and family in the sun is perfect. You have a barbecue on the first sunny day and they don't seem to stop until September.
But all those gatherings often mean a lot of food, alcohol and sugary drinks. It can be challenging to keep yourself in check, not to roll into binge eating and drinking while still enjoying all your summer parties. Lucky for you, I have 7 tips to share with you on how to find the right balance between social eating and drinking and your fitness.
1. Keep Tracking Your habits
Keeping a journal or diary of what you eat and when you exercise can come very helpful when trying to keep the lid on poor nutrition habits, especially in challenging times. The first step is that you accept your choices and what they can do to your body. Logging your food creates self-accountability and helps you to be sure of your behaviours.
It's really easy to think that you've been good, when you've actually been grazing on snacks all day and haven't exercised in a week. Many of my personal training clients report an increase in their adherence to their nutrition targets purely because they have to log everything they eat or drink.
Knowing how many calories are in your food can help you to rethink eating them. There are so many temptations throughout summer, from burgers to ice cream, and it's easy to overindulge.
I recommend keeping eye on the labels of everything before you put them in your mouth. If you check how many calories are in each serving, it can help you to turn down seconds or even avoid some foods altogether.
3. Take Advantage of Being the Host
Hosting your own summer get-togethers is ideal because it puts you in charge of the food and drinks. You can choose to take a healthy approach and offer a number of healthy dishes to your guests.
Feel free to ask your guests to only bring healthy and low calorie side and dessert options with them or take care of it all yourself and show them that healthy can taste amazing too.
4. Bring Your Own
When you go to other people's parties, help yourself out by taking a dish with you. Instead of dessert, drinks or snacks, offer to bring a main dish. It helps you ensure that you have at least one healthy option to eat, and you might find that some of the other guests appreciate it too.
5. Watch Your Portions
You can't always have control over what options you have for a meal when out and about, but you can control how much of it you will eat. Portion control becomes extremely important during barbecue season.
It's easy to keep loading your plate and to spend all day grazing. There are a few methods to stop you from overeating. One is when you eat very slowly, chew on your food countless time and stp eating when you feel nearly full.
The other is to take a normal size plate, fill it up once, and finish eating when that's gone. It also mattershow you fill it up. Cover half of it with vegetables the colour of a rainbow. Take about a palm size protein source like a burger, a steak or a few sausages, whichever is your favourite, then add a fistful or less carbohydrates, like potato salad, bun or a grain salad. Easy.
6. Go Easy on Drinks
When it's warm, you want to drink. When you're at a party, you want to drink too. But with so many alcoholic and sugary drinks around, you can easily consume half or more of your daily calories by drinking alone. If preventing weight gain is your goal, go for low calorie options and limit your alcohol intake to 1-2 units at max.
Slimline G&T is a pretty low calorie option, so is prosecco. You can find low alcohol and low calorie versions of white and red wine, many spirits and beer, so test and find something that works for you.
7. Give Yourself a SLack
You don't have to completely deny yourself any pleasure during the summer. It's fine to indulge and have some less healthy food and drink. If you want to make sure you don't overdo it, try to make at least 80 percent of your food and drink choices healthy ones and focus on overall food intake rather than restricting things you like.
It can be also a good idea to ease your workout schedule and include activities with friends and family that can contribute to your physical activity levels an are not boring. Think of a walk on the countryside, surfing or just having a picnic and laying some badminton. All great cardio activities and can be done together for socialising.
If you fall oww the wagon, accept it and jump back straight on it. One bad choice won't have any long-term effect, however if you let it keep you down and dig yoursel finto a deeper hole of unhealthy choices, you will surely regret it in September.
Have any questions on nutrition or exercise for the summer months? Feel free to message me.
Owner and creator of One Small Step, Joe has been in the health and fitness industry for 8 years and takes an all-round approach to his coaching.