SUMMER SOCIALIZING

It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not. — James Gordon

Most health authorities, diet experts, and qualified nutritionists know that the best advice for any occasion when you are trying to lose weight involves planning ahead in any way you can. Below are some of the top leading diet tips that experts suggest for navigating your way through any social event regardless of the time of year.

  • Make a specific plan of eating for during the day of the event, and for the event itself. Do not plan on skipping meals, that’s a setup to overeat later.
  • Divide up your very lean protein to space out throughout the day. It has less calories so you can consume more to stay satisfied. Save some protein calories for dinner. (Chicken and fish are usually lean, but most beef BBQ items can be pretty fatty. Do the same as above with the vegetables that you are allowed more generous amounts of (spinach, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, etc.)
  • Save your fats for the special meal.
  • Watch fruit consumption as it’s still high in natural sugar and carbohydrates.

Be picky! The American Dietetic Association suggests consuming only those foods that you absolutely love at special social events. Then “mindfully” (ask for the handout on Mindful Eating in your clinic.) savor them. Skip items that are readily available any time of year.

See what’s available. When you first arrive at a social event obtain a sparkly fizzy water or another healthy calorie beverage. (Review the article on Beverages.) This also keeps people from pushing alcohol on you. Relax and gather your resolve. Seeing all the food around can be daunting to a waist watcher! Regardless of the numerous temptations focus on what the best choices are. The idea is to make real conscious choices that are in line with your weight loss goals.

Think fun! All holidays are supposed to be about socializing and having a good time with family and friends, not “having a party in the mouth” as Dr. Phil so cleverly puts it. Focus on the people or activities.

Watch alcoholic consumption. If you can eliminate drinking, do so. If not cut your alcohol intake in half by alternating with water and seltzers/diet drinks. Refer to your patient handbook and/or the alcohol handout for additional information. Alcohol literally stops fat loss in its tracks! And it usually stimulates your appetite and weakens your resolve, something you don’t need when there’s so much food already around. The best alternatives are Zevia soda, Honest teas, Hint water and of course fizzy waters.

Skip the munchies and snacks. They can be a meal alone and they usually consist of mostly fat and carbs. If you must nibble, go for the veggies. If you just can’t resist some appetizers, put a “loving” limit on how many you will consume.

Limit variety. If the meal has numerous choices, Brian Wansick, PhD and author of Mindless Eating suggests putting only 3 or 4 items on your plate. Variety stimulates the appetite and you can limit some of this stimulation by choosing just a few items, rather than trying to control a big plate of numerous taunting options.

Chew gum. When temptations are lurking around everywhere, chew a piece of sugarless mint gum.

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