White parties, pool parties, birthday parties and (bridal/baby/engagement) showers are pretty much the bane of your fat loss goals this summer.
You are torn between wanting to show up looking extra hott in a new outfit and wanting to eat half of the dessert table because you’ve been “dieting” and just need carbs… all the carbs!
It’s a struggle, I know!
It is even more tough when you go to extremes to look extra fly (is that even still a phrase?) before the party because by the time the big reveal is over (aka you walk up to the party and turn heads) you want to gorge yourself in the party foods and drinks.
So what do you do? Buy a bigger dress? Skip the party? Not care about your appearance? Wear clothes so tight you literally can’t eat?
Answer: none of the above.
You see, each day my clients and I strategize for backyard weddings, pool parties, birthdays and more. I assure you, there are several ways to attend these events, have fun and stay on track.
Here’s the deal, when it comes to summer BBQ’s there are about five things working in your favor and five things literally trying to make you eat 3,000 calories in one sitting.
As long as you can use the positives to strategize for the event and plan for defenses against the negatives you *can* attend a backyard BBQ, wedding shower or “white party” without going off track from your nutrition guidelines.
Positive side of backyard BBQ/ summer bashes:
- You know the theme and can ascertain what food and drink items will be there
- I.e. fiesta means tortilla chips and tequila, birthdays involve cake, and showers = cookies
- You are close with the host so you can ask questions about what food will be there and potentially bring your own dish(es) to share and eat.
- bring some type of vegetable and some type of protein
- You can stand around in most cases or play if it is outside (unless it is a fancy event)
- standing burns more calories than sitting
- You can catch up with old friends and spend more time talking less time eating
Negatives of summer bashes:
- They last for hours… sometimes we snack too much
- We are peer pressured into boozing
- We forget what we are eating because we don’t sit down to eat one exact meal
- There is always way too much food
- after the reveal we want to indulge
Here are 25 tips to stay on track at summer parties:
1. If you know generally what type of party it is, go in with a plan!
- I am eating dinner before, having cocktails there (two drinks)
- I am eating veggies only as snack and a burger without a bun
- I am going to have a beer and what every salad they serve
- Bring a quest bar or some the of snack to eat before or on the way home if there are zero “healthy options” and I get hungry
2. No potato salads, egg salads and even chicken salads are not typically “healthy” due to high fat mayo, added sugar and the mere fact that they are very high in calories. However, a regular hot dog or burger will not kill you– it’s just going to be a higher calorie and higher fat serving of protein than you typically eat at home. Have a hot dog, (or two), to fill up on protein and avoid the “salads.” If you feel tempted, try and ask the host what is in the “salad”– maybe it’s a healthy-ish version? You never know until you ask!
3. If you are going to mindlessly eat anything, make sure its raw veggies. If you are going to partake in veggie “dips” only dip into the dip (using a vegetable not a chip!) five times.
4. Choose between having a bun OR chips for fat loss.
5. Keep one hand free and practice talking with your hands. Therefore, if you are holding a cocktail– hold it and do not snack, pretend you need the free hand to talk. Then, when it is time to snack, hold the plate with one hand or veggies in one hand. By not using one hand to eat or drink you will eat less and talk more (hopefully).
6. Two drink maximum; it might mean you go through four drinks if you are nursing them because a beer/alcohol is never good warm. If it is a long party, although this sounds wasteful, if you are going to have the calories you might as well enjoy them! So, grab a beer an nurse a fourth of it or half of it for an hour. Then once it is halfway gone and/or luke warm, grab another and drink half of it, etc. This is easy to do at fancier parties with a wait staff because they are constantly taking away finished/unfinished and warm drinks. Pretend there’s a wait staff and bring yourself new beers when you hit the halfway mark on the beer and watch your clock! One-half a beer an hour!
7. If you do want to look amazing, feel great and have extra room to indulge, eat only protein leading up the event that day.
- egg whites and veggies for breakfast
- greek yogurt snack or whey protien in a shaker cup
- turkey slices and/ or a quest bar
8. Stand as much as possible and play when you can! Standing burns more calories and keep you more active, walking and talking around the party or event. If you go into the night planning to indulge a bit more than usual, try and stand more. This also helps if you are drinking. Sometimes we drink too much too fast and feel surprisingly drunk when we stand up eventually. If there’s a band, dance! Croquet? Play!
9. Count your (tortilla/pita/cracker) chips. This is a really good trick to stay mindful of how much you are eating and “own” your decision. Instead of having a few and feeling guilty about it. Just plan ahead to have 140-180 calories form chips, (about 6-8 chips depending on the type) and when you get there and eat them, count them and know that you are perfectly on track.
10. Laugh: its fun, it burns calories and if you laugh hard enough, you might even be sore.
11. Ask questions about the food prep if you have food allergies or worry that the dishes look too good to be “healthy.” Also, knowing what goes into each dish makes it easier to track what you are eating. Tell your friend that you want to re-create the dish they made; ask them to teach you how they made it.
12. Talk about your diet. This is huge! Don’t talk about your diet in efforts to complain or gripe about it, talk about it to share your story, your motivation, your strategies and to talk about how excited you are about your progress! Talking about it will not only motivate you to stay on track at the party but others will understand why you are making the choices you are and they will be genuinely excited for you! They will also be inspired because there you are, enjoying yourself at a party as you have been doing all summer (strategically) and making progress!
13. Scout out the food table first, decide ahead of time what sounds good and then indulge. In example, if you get there and see a lot of items you want to try and so many things that look good, it might be in your best interest to forgo the cocktail so you can have more calories from food. However if you grab a drink right away you might regret it. Do a little research before you commit to a higher calorie option.
14. Pick one of three: chips, cookie, or a drink. If you worked out and prioritized protein that day, have two of three!
15. Don’t feel obligated to stay extra long if you are there and getting hungry but don’t want to eat the unhealthy options. Also, do not feel obligated to drink if the host begs you too.
16. In the same vein, don’t give into peer pressure! Lie if you have to! Tell them you’re meeting with a new trainer to exercise in the morning or you have a random conference call. Tell them you’re taking family photos the next day and want to feel your best. Or, just say “No!”
17. If you decide your plan is to actually eat a legit dinner at the party, make a legit plate. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, get protein and make the other 25% of the plate carbs and fat or one or the other: could be a few pieces of fruit with some nuts, could be some bread and butter, could be some potatoes and oil. Make sure it looks like the photo below and make sure you sit down and eat it. Having a legit meal is helpful so you can omit snacking before hand (besides maybe a few veggies) and omit it afterward. Try and eat normally like you would at home with one plate.
18. If your plan is to eat salad at the party– you *can* have seconds of salad. Below are guidelines for a salad of which you can have seconds. If it does’t fit these rules, eat around some parts or pick off the parts that do not fit to make sure it does!
- it has greens in it (not fruit only salad)
- It has one of three or two of three (if you exercised): nuts, cheese, avocado, bacon bits
- It’s *not* dripping in dressing, the dressing appears to be light
- it has protein if it’s your meal
- it doesn’t have dressing AND dried fruit
- If it has dried fruit, pick between the dried fruit OR the nuts, avo, or cheese
19. Set a time limit: make sure if you aren’t eating dinner there you wrap up your conversations and leave before you get too hungry and start to snack. If you are standing by the food table try to not stand there for too long; the longer you stand there the more likely you are to indulge.
20. Drink diet-soda! Soda is bubbly and filling. Although it can make you feel bloated if you have too much, better to fill up on diet-soda than handfuls of bar nuts.
21. Do not have cheese and crackers. Cheese is not filling and while it does have protein, most party foods are already higher in fat, so try and avoid cheese and crackers because it will never satisfy you and just one small ounce of cheese can be 70 calories.
22. Don’t drink the punch. Punches are made with extra sugar and God only knows what else… just abstain.
23. Drinks to indulge in: vodka waters, champagnes, *4 ounces* of wines, light beers or vodka and diet sodas.
24. Don’t try and give advice or explain yourself too much. People don’t know what they don’t know and while it is important to share your fat loss goals/journey with someone who is genuinely interested be careful talking about it too much because some people will try and give you:
- unsolicited advice
- talk you out of eating “healthy”
- give you unwanted “healthy” snacks that are probably not healthy
- force feed you! (jk, but seriously!)
25. Stick to your guns! Whether its a reminder in your phone, a note on your hand or an accountability friend, date or significant other, go in with your plan and STICK TO IT!!!!
Fat loss is never an easy process. And, Summer likes to act like a strong defensive lineman and get in the way what seems like every other day.
Have systems for your everyday nutrition: go-to salads, protein shakes, go-to low calorie snacks etc and then when these parties, get-togethers, and special events are thrown at you, you can take your normal “system” and try and adapt it for the party.
A party should never alter your plan or take you off track, it should just change the way you have to attack the day.
Make a plan, stay strong and enjoy the ride!
SPECIAL NOTE: I have added a couple of Gluten Free “Bonus* Tips to Part II. Please check out the bonus tips and learn some special precautions to take if you are Celiac and eating at a sushi restaurant.
#daretoeat & #daretomove