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Tips For a Fun & Fit Summer!

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Cue the s’mores, summer is here! We are fresh off a long, sunny, fun-filled holiday weekend. I dunno about you but for me and my family, Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of the summer season!

Does this past weekend have you jonesing for a super social summer?

Think drinks poolside…festivals…concerts…picnics…BBQ’s…road trips…vacations… patio eating and drinking…the list goes on!

You’re likely nodding YES because living in Cleveland means a short window to get out, soak in the sun and enjoy all the things!

Point being, heading into summer = TONS of distractions.

And with these distractions typically follows the infamous all-or-nothing mindset:

……”With the kids home, it’s too hard to exercise so I’ll go back to the gym in August”.

…..”I want to eat better buuuut with all these vacations, graduation parties and cookouts it’s going to be hard sooo I’ll just say ‘screw it’ until Summer is over”.

And hey, I get it because while I am a coach, I am also human and LOVE getting to the ballpark, Mitchell’s ice cream and grilling new burger recipes every Friday night with my hubby and kids.

But, the “all or nothing” mindset is a slippery slope and a dangerous one leading you to self-sabotage.

If you want to be healthier, exercise more and eat better BUUUT still want to enjoy a super social summer GOOD NEWS:

**Consistency beats perfection every single time!**

That means you can have your s’mores and eat it, too!

How do you stay consistent with a super social summer schedule?

First, ditch the all or nothing mindset. Next, learn how to create a balance by practicing my most popular, highly sought after tips for having a fun and fit summer when it comes to the 3 biggest self sabotage culprits:

#1. Alcohol: enjoy adult bevs without sacrificing results.

#2. Vacation + Travel: make better choices without falling off the wagon.

#3. BBQ’s + picnics + cookouts: nail social meals guilt free!

Keep reading and learn how you CAN absolutely enjoy your summer and still make progress with your goals – it’s about finding the right balance.


Setting Expectations

Before we explore the survival guide, let me begin by framing expectations around common goals so you understand how to succeed and decide what you are / are not willing to do to strike that balance:

  • If weight/fat loss is your goal, you need to be in a calorie deficit: consuming fewer calories than you are burning each day. Nothing crazy, just about 500 or so calories will do the trick.

  • If weight maintenance is your goal, you need to be eating at or about the same number of calories you are burning in a day.

  • If you want to add weight or muscle mass, you need to be in a calorie surplus: consuming more calories than you are burning each day.

  • If overall health is your goal, you need to be eating well-balanced meals in the appropriate portions for your body and needs.

Use this framework to align your behaviors and goals accordingly. By setting expectations, you can set yourself up for success and control the outcome.

And, in addition to all of this, know the QUALITY of foods you eat is just as important as the QUANTITY. Aim for eating tons of REAL, nutrient-dense foods because this stuff keeps you feeling your best, looking your best and ensures you successfully reach your goals! Here are just a few examples:

  • Proteins: chicken, turkey, pork, beef, salmon, shrimp, tuna, Greek yogurt, eggs

  • Veggies: load up on ALL the veggies – you can never go wrong with these!

  • Heart Healthy Fats: nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios), seeds (chia, flax, sunflower), nut butters (peanut /almond butter), avocado, olives and olive oil.

  • Smart Carbs: brown/wild rice, sprouted grains, quinoa, sweet and regular potatoes and beans (chick peas, black, kidney, lentils).

Let’s now strategize useful tips and tricks for handling your social summer when it comes to alcohol, vacation / travel and all those BBQ’s / picnics / cookouts.

**Please note: avoiding social situations and gatherings due to the fear of not finding foods you can enjoy while staying on track can be a sign of Disordered Eating. Disordered Eating is considered to be a variety of abnormal eating behaviors such as preoccupation with food. If you feel this is something you may have been suffering from, please speak to your physician or, a licensed medical professional.**


Social Summer Culprit #1: Alcohol

Now, we all may enjoy an adult beverage here and there but, there is something extra special about summertime, making us want to kick back with a drink in hand. Not to mention, when it’s hot, these drinks go down super quick! The three main challenges with alcohol?

  1. Empty Calories: These are calories providing little to no nutritional value to you and remember, relative to your goals, calories can have a major impact! Maximizing the calories you do consume is very important keeping in mind quality is equally important as quantity.

  2. Impairs Judgement: Alcohol impairs your decision-making so the more you drink, the fewer inhibitions you will have. Sure, you start the night thinking you will not order that late night pizza but a few hours and a few drinks later, it’s not the veggies you are reaching for. And, when hungover, we tend to crave more of those highly processed foods to “soak up” all that residual alcohol swimming in our stomachs.

  3. Slows down progress: Alcohol inhibits muscle growth and recovery – don’t flush away your amazing progress!

So, what can you do to enjoy a few drinks AND stay in line with your goals?

Here are five tips when it comes to alcohol consumption:

  1. Prime your body with nutrients! Before you start drinking, focus on consuming lean proteins and plenty of fresh veggies.

  2. Limit your intake: Choose the number of drinks you will have and stick to that number.

  3. Hydrate! Be sure to stay hydrated and have a glass of water between each drink.

  4. Drink the basics: Avoid drinks containing sugary mixers or heavy syrups. Those fancy-schmancy umbrella drinks are super fun BUT contain TONS of added sugars, making for one wicked hangover. Plus, these will dehydrate you much faster!

  5. Mocktails: You also have the choice to not consume alcohol at all. Sometimes it’s more of the habit *holding and sipping* we find most comforting when in a social setting. A mocktail can be something as simple as sparkling water infused with fresh fruit.


Social Summer Culprit #2: Vacation

Next up, vacation! Let’s be honest, after 2020, everyone’s ready for a break but traveling can be tricky territory for finding optimal nutrition choices. Whether you are road-tripping or flying the blue skies, here are four travel tips for you to “pack”:

  1. Stay hydrated: Focus on drinking water before anything else (aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces daily). Climate change combined with the humidity levels of a typical aircraft can quickly dehydrate you in no time. 

  2. Pack your own snacks: Flying to your destination? Airport snacks are overpriced and most come pre-packaged with tons of added salt and sugar. Have easy and portable options on hand like self-contained fruits (apples, oranges or bananas), nuts and seeds, tuna in a pouch, protein powder measured out and ready to go (just add water) or high-quality protein bars like an RX bar.

  3. Pack a cooler: Road-tripping? Don’t rely on those rest stop vending machines or gas station hot dogs. Prepare healthy meals and snacks in advance like fresh-cut fruits and veggies, salads, sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, or string cheese. Skip stopping at a restaurant and instead, opt to enjoy a roadside picnic (safely).

  4. Shop for convenience items: If you are unable to pack snacks or prepare a cooler, gas stations, convenience stores and airports do sell the options listed above like bananas, packs of nuts and seeds (opt for unsalted bags), mini protein snack packs with nuts, cheeses and fruits, protein bars (opt for brands with the shortest list of ingredients like RX bars or Kind Bars) and sandwiches.


Ok, so you are done with the traveling portion of your trip and YAY, finally arrived to your destination – ahhh, we can hear the beach waves crashing from here! Chances are, not every place you visit / eat at will have everything you need to create a balanced meal.

Here are three tips for tackling what to eat when vacationing:

  1. Plan out your splurges: The best way to strike a balance is planning ahead, just like you would at home. For example, if dinner’s at a restaurant, prepare and eat breakfast and lunch at your rental /wherever you are staying. If you are brunching at the local hot spot, opt to prepare and eat your other meals at your rental.

    **Always focus on eating balanced meals throughout the day to help keep you full and satisfied. Do not skip meals in anticipation of splurges and larger meals. You will be HANGRY and likely will over do it.

  2. Eat your veggies (and protein!): Prioritize eating proteins and plenty of fresh veggies first at every meal, regardless if you are dining in or out. This combo is the dream team for keeping you satisfied while reducing the urge to binge, which often occurs when vacationing.

  3. Eat mindfully: Slow down! Pick foods you wouldn’t normally eat / are unique to your destination and take the time to slow down and really enjoy! If needed, set your utensils down in between bites to better recognize fullness cues.



Social Summer Culprit #3: BBQ’s, Picnics & Cookouts

Last but not least is my personal favorite, barbecues, picnics and cookouts! Come summer, these are a dime a dozen (not mad about it!) and hitting up each should not deter you from maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Here are four tips to nail social meals without feeling “guilty” or like you just totally fell off the wagon:

  1. Bring a dish to share: Control what you can by bringing a dish packed with tons of nutrients. This ensures you have better options as well! Maybe it’s a veggie tray, protein source (grilled chicken or pulled pork), healthy dip like this Greek feta dip or a charcuterie board loaded with heart healthy fats and fruit.

  2. Skip the everyday items: Skip the foods you eat on the regular and treat yourself to foods you don’t eat often, like a loved one’s family recipe.

  3. Load up on veggies: If you are serving yourself, load up and fill half your plate with veggies. From there, focus on the lean proteins and use the remaining space for goodies. 

  4. Don’t become a fixture next to the food: Move around the party and mingle! Now is the time to take full advantage to visit with the family/friends you haven’t spent time with since before COVID. Otherwise, planting yourself next to the food can lead to mindless grazing. Outta sight, outta mind!


 

Stay Fueled

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