Summer means a plethora of barbecues and outdoor fun, so I wanted to share some tips on how to enjoy them without worrying about adding on extra pounds. It is a very common question I often get asked from clients, as they want to know how to handle their weight loss plan when they are going out and not in control of their food.
The last thing I want them to do is stress about a simple pleasure in life that will occur many times over. After all, life is meant to be enjoyed and a night out should in no way be stressful when trying to lose weight. This is what flexible dieting is all about: Not being a slave to your diet, and being able to enjoy any types of foods without feeling guilty.
With that being said, eating a meal out can add up super fast and amount to thousands of calories very quickly.
Here are some quick tips when you go out to your favorite barbecue bananza:
Tip 1: Try to limit as much fat as you can during the day. If you can avoid it all together, even better.
Why you ask? Fat is what makes food taste good, and at 9 calories per gram, it add ups fast. To put things in perspective, 1 tablespoon of oil has 16 grams of fat. If you think having a salad with oil and vinegar, veggies sautéed with oil and garlic and a piece of grilled protein (grilled in more oil unless you ask for it dry) is a healthy meal option, know that it’s loaded with fat from all the oil. That is about 400-500 calories just from the oil. We didn’t get to the wine, bread, taste of dessert, and anything else you may have. Yes, it all adds up super fast! I’m not saying to not enjoy your night, but rather, I am simply saying, save the fat for the big meal out. Balance is best.
Tip 2: Focus on lean protein throughout the day. Egg whites for breakfast, grilled chicken or shrimp for lunch, greek yogurt or cottage cheese for a snack. Most meals out are loaded with fat as I stated above and we all know how easy it is to digest lots of yummy carbs. What most meals lack are protein, and while you may have some while you are dining out, we need a lot more than we think. So load up during the day! I know it may not seem like fun eating a bit more boring and bland food, but you and your waistline will be thankful for it later. You can do anything for one day in return for a great night out without the guilt and extra pounds!
Tip 3: Limit carbs to vegetables, fruit and other low carb options. Vegetables are high in volume, meaning we get a lot for a little. A lot of food, a lot of chewing, and a lot of fiber, which keeps you full, for very little calories. Pair your lean protein from tip 2 above with an oversized salad for lunch. Try to stay away from fattening dressings. Berries are a great option for staying low carb. Pair it with greek yogurt for a delicious high protein snack. Berries are high in fiber as well, and are also high volume and low carb/calories. Rice cakes are another low carb option that give you a big bang for your buck. I love the butter popcorn flavor – they have 8 grams of carbs, no fat and a good punch of fiber which will keep you full.
Tip 4: Don’t skip your workout. If you can’t do your normal exercise routine, try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of cardio in during the day. It will off set the calories a bit and most likely put you in a healthier state of mind for the rest of the day.
Tip 5: Try to drink as much water as possible, especially if you are planning on having a few cocktails in the evening. While water is not a magic pill, it does make you feel fuller before a meal. In addition, alcohol dehydrates you, so if you drink copious amount of water during the day, you will be ahead of the game later on.
Tip 6: DON’T STRESS AND ENJOY THE NIGHT! One day is not going to deter progress in the long run. Think about it this way – if you have been consistent with your goals for a year or any length of time, that is what shows progress, and one day/ night out does not impact that. After all, we didn’t gain all this weight in one night and we certainly are not going to lose weight going off plan for one night. It’s important to look at the overall picture, the journey, and not the quick fix.
Enjoy life, enjoy your health and fitness journey, make smart decisions, and remember, everything in moderation. Balance is key to any successful diet.
I hope you will think of these tips and use them the next time you are going out.
For more of my health and fitness tips visit the blog here.