Summertime is upon us, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I love the summer; think cookouts, festivals, graduation parties, weddings, etc. So much fun, but also so much opportunity to have our nutrition derailed if we allow it.
Let me start by saying that the purpose of this article is NOT to cause grave concern or to encourage you to freak out about your nutrition. In fact, I think that we can be mindful about our nutrition (to not derail any progress) while simultaneously enjoying the hell out of our lives.
I personally believe that there is no need to sacrifice fun and enjoyment in the name of “staying on track.” We can totally do both, and IMO, we should because life is too short to skip out on fun in the name of fat loss.
Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
- Don’t go to social events ravenous
If you are heading to a social event of some sort, eat a small meal of protein and vegetables prior to going to the event. If you head to a party ravenous, that’s a recipe for eating anything and everything in sight. Everything looks amazing when you’re starving. Ever went to the grocery hungry? I have, and I end up buying a bunch of crap that I don’t really want or need. You are in a position to make much better decisions when you aren’t starving.
2. Plan accordingly
If you have plans for later that you know or expect will involve eating more calorie dense foods, plan accordingly by keeping your eating during the day more conscious. Stick with choices that are high in protein and fiber and lower in carbs and fats in preparation for consuming more later in the day.
3. Intermittently drink water while consuming alcohol
Alcohol is frequently at the center of many social events. If you have fat loss goals or just want to maintain your physique, I recommend drinking two cups of water to every alcoholic beverage. Wanna know why? Well for starters, drinking inhibits your choices. Have you ever been drunk and before you know it, you’re scarfing down an entire greasy pizza? (or is that just me LOL). Intermittently drinking water will slash the amount of drinks you consume (and therefore slash the calories you consume) and also keep you level headed so you can make better choices.
4. Load up on veggies and protein first
If you have the option, fill 75% of your plate with protein and veggies first and fill the rest with whatever you want and enjoy it guilt free. Protein and veggies will not only keep you full and satisfied, but it’s also calorie friendly.
I know there are a myriad of fun options in the summer to keep your time occupied, but it’s still important to get some movement in consistently. However, the beautiful thing is that the summer time brings so many fun opportunities for fitness; running, park workouts, roller blading, swimming, hiking, walking, and of course, just good ole strength training. On days when you have concerns about your nutrition, the best option is to get in a high intensity strength training session. Even if you are short on time, 20-30 minutes will do the trick.
6. Eat things that really taste good.
Here’s the deal. If I take a bite of something, and it doesn’t taste really, really good, I don’t eat the rest of it. For example, I’m a self-proclaimed donut connessuir. If I take a bite into a donut, and it’s only okay (like I could live without it or even worse, it’s a waste of my calories), I just don’t eat it. I realize that some people may have a hard time with this because they don’t want to waste food. I totally get that and understand the sentiment, but I personally just don’t believe in eating things I don’t actually enjoy. However, this is a personal preference, and my advice is that you do what is best for you.
7. Eat until you’re 80% full
Resist the urge to eat until you fill stuffed. I’ve done it before, and I’m sure you have as well. But whenever I eat until I feel like I’m ready to pop, I always regret it because I immediately feel lethargic, uncomfortable, and my energy levels crash hardcore. Do your best until you feel satisfied, but not stuffed. Also, remember to slow down and enjoy the experience of eating. It’s super easy to eat so fast that you don’t even realize you are full and satisfied.
8. Skip the food FOMO
Have you ever indulged in something you didn’t really want because you felt like you would never have a chance to eat it again? That’s simply not the case (in most situations). I do my absolute best to have an abundance mindset in all areas of my lives, food included. There is always more than enough. There will always be another opportunity to eat whatever is. I never have to eat something I don’t actually want because I’m scared of missing out. If you really want it then by all means eat it, but resist the urge to eat it just because you’re scared you may miss out.
9. Enjoy the experience
So often, we make food the focal point of social events. I actually think eating and sharing food with friends and family is a beautiful experience. However, I think we can also shift our mindsets from making it just about food to the experience itself. It’s a chance to enjoy and be grateful for the opportunity to spend time with people we love and appreciate. Focus more on the company and the experience than just the food. Food is just one part of the experience.
10. Show yourself some Compassion
Finally, as always, show yourself some compassion. Even if you utilize all the tips above and still manage to overdo it, realize that it’s not the end of the world. Just continue being mindful and try again next time. It gets easier with practice and plus, like I said above, life is too short to beat yourself up about a nutrition hiccup. Be mindful but remember to enjoy life.
Always remember this: no one changes their body in one day. One day of indulgent eating, just like one day of spot-on eating (whatever that means) doesn’t magically change your body composition. It’s what you do consistently day after day that makes all the difference. So basically, don’t stress.
I spent too much time worrying about situations like this, bringing my own food to events in tupperware containers, and wallowing in guilty and anxiety for “bad” eating decisions. When I’m on my death bed, the last thing on my mind is going to be that 4th of July in 2017 when I ate too much. I choose to spend my mental energy on things that will add value to my life, and for me, stressing over food is not one of those things.
Do your best and then choose to move on, and most importantly, remember to enjoy every single day and live life to its fullest.
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