Terri’s view: I know it’s a little early for talk of summer, but with the warm weather here in NY, thoughts of the pool and BBQs can’t help but creep into my brain. The summer brings less routine, beaches, picnics, and vacations; all of which tend to revolve around food.
I think I am in the minority when I say that the summer is the toughest time of year for me as far as the scale goes. Most people say they are outdoors more and are more active, which helps with weight control. The winter is when they eat more and let the pounds pack on. I, on the other hand, find the summer tougher than the rest of the year and here’s why.
I guess I should say that my husband and I are very fortunate to have active social lives even with 2 little ones. We are blessed with lots of friends and family that have pools and get togethers. No matter how well I stick to the program during the week, the weekends seem to throw me off course. I’m not saying there aren’t any healthy BBQ choices, as there are lots of good choices for outdoor grilling. Fish, turkey burgers, grilled veggies all taste outrageous on the grill. But you do not always have a choice if you are at someone else’s home. So how do we stay on track during a summer of hotdogs and hamburgers?
First off, prepare yourself mentally. If you know you are going into a social situation where there will be lots of temptations, mentally get into the zone. Do not skimp on meals before you go to save calories, as you will just go in ravenous and start eating chips. Carry a bottle of water to nurse or bring a bag of unshelled sunflower seeds to snack. The sheer act of the cracking and shelling keeps your mouth and hands busy when lounging by the pool or just hanging around the table while others are eating chips. I usually volunteer to bring a salad, so I know there will be something for me to load up on before the main meal.
I like to check out all the food choices and make my decisions from there. If it’s the basics like burgers and dogs, I will usually have a hotdog with a bun, but no bun for the burger. If there is chicken as well, I will forgo the dog. There are usually lots of side salads so try to stick to a pasta salad over something with lots of mayo. Let’s face it, it is really tough to stay the course in social situations, especially when everything presented is so good.
Even if you’ve done your best not to be gluttonous for dinner, then out come the desserts. Hopefully there will be a fruit salad so you can load up with that and have a small piece of cake or cookie that you want. Get a cup of coffee and nurse it and help the hostess with cleanup so you are not just sitting around the table eyeing the rest of the treats as it’s very hard not to overindulge. I am looking forward to another great summer with my family and will do my best to stay looking good in the shorts at the same time!
Ed’s View: Summertime! After a snowy winter, it is a welcome season! It’s time to think about preparation and your approach to this summer. Since your lifestyle change, I’m sure you have lost weight and if you have kept up a good workout schedule, you must feel much better as well.
Here’s the rub (not on the BBQ ribs,) you may go into a weekend warrior mode. Be very careful of this; the summer sports can bring out the competitor in us and also the trip to the emergency room! A lot of these injuries can be avoided by stretching before playing, know your limitations as well, stop playing if you feel some soreness. You are not getting paid for the sport, and an injury could also throw you off your exercise routine as well, so take the simple precautions first.
Terri has mentioned the food, but there are other calories that can sneak up; nothing goes with a BBQ better than an ice cold beer, believe it or not a beer is not bad for you – but many beers can derail a diet very quickly. If you must have 1, just have 1, stay away from the “umbrella style” drinks; they have too much sugar and a ton of calories. The best drink is just some water.
Getting back to the summer fun – make sure even if you are playing in a league this summer that you don’t use that activity as your exercise day. Make sure you still get your walk or your gym days in. A league should be in addition to your exercise, not a replacement.
Finally, yes, enjoy a steak off the grill, but do not eat the entire side of the cow! Keep your portions in line with your lifestyle change, look for the healthier foods as well and enjoy the sun and fun that friends and family have to offer.