As the warmer weather reaches all parts of the country most fitness enthusiasts find themselves tempted to fall off the good eatin' wagon. The warm weather brings more parties, more holidays, more alcohol, and more empty calories than one body can stand. This doesn't mean that you have to lock yourself in the gym and stop taking calls or accepting invitations to summer gatherings.
Let's face it, working hard to make our bodies look good only pays off if you can show off every once in a while; and what better place to do that then a party with friends and hot chicks. (Or hot men if you're a woman)
So how do you manage to make all the great parties and still eat right? How do you manage to keep all the fat off for the summer? How can you enjoy summertime food and still feel good about yourself by Labor Day? Easy! The word is moderation.
As with all your diet needs you should keep in mindmoderation. Eating too much of one thing or too much of the same thing makes your diet boring and extremely difficult to follow. Moderation, in the case of summer eating, means do not go to every party and drink and eat yourself FAT.
· Eat Before You Come (a catchy bumper sticker of the 80's)
Going to summer parties is great, but the food usually is not on the fitness enthusiast's menu. It's o.k. to cheat every once in a while, but do not stop eating regularly just so you can gorge at the party. Eat your usual meal before the party or if it is not time, fill up on a protein shake or small meal so you don't arrive starving. Your body will be less likely to crave all the fat treats.
· Location, Location, Location
The business world believes location can be the difference between success and failure. This is also true in the world of fitness. Trust meif you stand next to the chip table for the whole party you will eventually eat a whole bag by yourself. Situate you finely tuned molded mass as far away from the drinks and treats as you can. You will have less opportunity to get to the treats if you are farther away.
Bring Your Own Meat. People will not be offended if you chose to bring your own marinated steak, chicken breast, fish, etc This option lets you control the how it is prepared. Or better yet, you do the cooking and make everyone eat healthier.
Bring Your Own Snacks/Salad. Let's face it, chips and salads at most parties are not on our diet. Offer to bring your own, this will ensure that you have some healthy foods.
Bring Your Own Alcohol. Alcohol is not our friend. It does terrible things to our metabolism. It has empty calories. For some it even increases cravings of fatty foods. My suggestion, avoid it like the plague. However, I know that is not possible, we all like a beer or wine. So if you must, bring your own allotment and stop when it is gone. Using the available cups to drink from a keg ensures that you will lose track of how many you have had.
· Remember your efforts
When you get to the perfect size and shape you will feel it. It will make you confident and secure. It will also cause others to ask how you do it. This it the perfect time to remember how hard it was, how many hours you put in at the gym, how you changed your diet and other sacrifices you made. Next time you thinkone more piece of cake won't hurtremember your efforts.
· Pick the right gathering
Through our lives we have made many friends some from high school or college, some from work, some from the gym. When you have to decide which gathering to go to, pick the gathering that will cater to your lifestyle. Seeing old college friends is great, but if that means drinking to 4 a.m. and then going for greasy breakfast, this may not be the best idea for your body. Peer pressure is the worst.
· Schedule your workouts accordingly
Just because there is a party it does not mean you should miss a workout. Over all the years and all the parties, I have never shown up late to find out I missed all the really good stuff. Chances are that if you show up an hour late because you went to the gym, you will arrive just in time to see the first drunk. Additionally, make sure you if you do not workout the day of the party, you workout the day before and the day after. The day after is to take away the guilt of eating too many cookies. Even if it is a light workout it will do wonders for the psyche.
Here is some clarification. I'm not a prude, I don't believe in abstinence, I don't like to eat clean 365, I'm not a recovering alcoholic and I don't go to the gym everyday. I do however; believe that we have much more control over our fitness destiny, than we think. Learning how to control our environment is key to our success. Your body will not retaliate because you did not eat the taco dip or the double chocolate cake at the Fourth of July party. It will retaliate for drinking until 4 a.m. and having a double cheeseburger and fries after.
Eat, Drink and be Merryjust do it in moderation.