Guest Post | Cait McDonnell
Summer always seems to fly by, doesn’t it? While some of us are getting ready for back to school or work after a nice vacation, we’ve still got some sunshine and beach time left!
One common theme I’m noticing among my online fitness coaching clients is that they seem to have difficulty when it comes to barbecues and parties, and there are a lot of those over the summer! When we have something like this to attend, of course food will be served but it may not be the healthiest of options. So during our weekly coaching calls clients end up sharing their frustration because they were eating well during the week but once the weekend rolled around it all went downhill. They’ve gained a pound or two back and don’t feel great (bloated, headaches, inflamed) because of the foods they ate.
It isn’t as challenging as one might think to avoid feeling this way, and you can still enjoy the barbeque!
5 Tips to Eat Well While Still Enjoying Yourself
1. PLAN AHEAD: If you're going on vacation pack some protein bars, nuts or other snacks with you. This is an easy fix to what could be a sticky situation. Traveling can often mean not having great food options available, so take some of the edge off with your favorite bar instead of paying the food court at the interstate's rest stop a visit.
I do this one often: Don't go to a restaurant ridiculously hungry. Have a little something beforehand! This can be anything from a protein shake or bar to a few slices of turkey breast or some fruit and veggies. You're less likely to eat the entire bread basket and you'll order from the menu with your eyes instead of your stomach. Speaking of the menu, look at it before you go. I enjoy doing this as it gets me excited about the cool new place we're going to try. I usually choose 1-2 options from the appetizers and main course and then make my decision once there. This way I'm not persuaded by what others at the table are ordering because I've already made up my mind.
2. STOP EATING WHEN YOU'RE ALMOST FULL: Wherever you are, don't stuff yourself. It is ok to leave a bit of food on your plate. Stop eating when you're no longer hungry, I usually say at 80%. You know that feeling when you've eaten so much you feel like you need to unbutton your pants and lay down? No one likes that. So don't let it happen to you.
3. WHAT'S YOUR DRINK MAX? How many alcoholic beverages can you have before you'll feel like crap (both mentally and physically) the following day? For some this may be 2, for others it could be a few more. Know how many drinks you'll have before you get to where you're headed. And don't tell me you had planned on having 3 but somehow you ended up with 5, that's just nonsense. You're better than that. Take some control over what you're putting into your body. A trick that works for some is this: Tell whoever you're going out with your drink max. So if you're allowing yourself 2 glasses of wine and all of a sudden the waitress comes over to pour everyone a third, your friend will have your back and remind you "Hey, you've already had those 2 glasses." Aren't friends the best? :)
4. WORKOUT BEFORE YOU GO: Put your body in a state where it's going to use what you're eating as fuel. How is this done? Exercise before you go. It should be an intense workout like intervals and doesn't have to be long. 1 minute as fast as you can on your choice of equipment, 2 minutes at a lower intensity, repeat 7-10 times for a total of 21-30 minutes. The more intense your workout is the longer you will burn calories even after you've finished working out. This is called EPOC or excess post-oxygen consumption, it's pretty cool and something we should all take advantage of.
5. YOU'RE GOING TO BE OK: So you went to an awesome BBQ, ended up eating nearly everything in sight and drinking too much. Now you feel awful not only physically but you're pissed at yourself and totally guilty. Get over it. There's nothing you can do about it now. Hopefully the food was delish and you enjoyed yourself, now it's time to move on. Use this as a learning experience. Get to the gym the following day and eat foods that will nourish and fuel you. Life will go on and your goals are all still attainable, I promise you that.
Cait McDonnell is the founder of CaitMcDonnell.com, a blog that dishes on lifestyle, home and fitness.
Cait is originally from New York and relocated to Charleston, SC where she shares her home with her husband and their two fur babies - Jaxson and Zalea.
She has a degree in Exercise Science and fitness and is a personal trainer and gluten free advocate (thanks to celiac disease), working with clients in-person and online.
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