Summer is full of fun — parties, BBQ’s, cocktails — and about midway through July many people feel heavy, bloated and blah. It’s an easy time of the year to slowly, or for some, not so slowly, slide back into old ways.
For some, (like me!) you have a hamburger bun and three days later think, “Well, I had a hamburger bun and nothing happened so I’ll eat another one today.” Before you know it hamburger buns and white bread become the norm.
Or, for some, you eat the hamburger bun, feel like a complete failure and go right back to your old way of eating.
(By the way, this is exactly why we created the 10-Day HealMyGut Summer Reboot for the month of July. We know how hard it is to stay on track and this will reset your system and make the rest of the summer easy as pie. Learn more and get the limited time offer)
Here’s the good news: It is possible to navigate summer eating fun AND stay on track with health goals.
The trick is to rewire the way we think about summer eating and to understand that making healthy choices begins WAY BEFORE the actual event.
Think about it: How possible is it to show up at your best friend’s BBQ — full of hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips, cold slaw, macaroni salad, cheeses, charcuterie, baguette, beer, cocktails, and pie — and think that you will only eat salad? Not likely! In fact, I would say impossible.
Besides, what fun would a BBQ be if you only ate salad?
On the other end of the spectrum, who wants to over-indulge on everything and then feel crappy physically and feel crappy about themselves?
The great news is that there is a way to find a middle ground to enjoy these food events, and even indulge, without a food hangover, shame, guilt and defeat.
10 Ways to Enjoy Summer Eating Without the Side Dish of Guilt
- Eat throughout the day — This goes for everyday, of course, but this is particularly problematic during the summer. Many people skip meals, or skimp on meals, thinking they will “save up” for the event —this backfires every single time. We end up eating more then we would have had we nourished and fueled our body during the day. When we skimp on nourishment our blood sugar drops and our body goes into starvation mode. We end up not only over-eating, but also eating foods we probably would not have found so tempting.
- Stock Your Fridge with seasonal foods and partake in extra servings of fruit and veggies leading up to the event. I find it helpful to have an extra smoothie or a green juice. Not only is it nourishing but it serves as a reminder that you are committed to treating your body with love and care.
- Exercise first thing in the morning — even if it’s just a walk. It revs your metabolism, reinforces healthy habits and sets a healthy tone to the day.
- Visualize yourself at the event — Let’s say you know you are going to a beach wedding in two weeks. Don’t wait until the last minute and start fretting about food. Every morning sit silently and envision yourself at the reception. Visualize yourself having fun, feeling great in your clothes. Visualize yourself being choosy when you take hors doerves. See yourself asking for fish and filling your plate with healthy, delicious food. See yourself having just a few bites of cake with a generous helping of berries. In other words … PRIME YOUR BRAIN!
- Plan in advance, Part 1: — Going to a BBQ and not sure what the pitfalls will be? Call or email your friend and ask what she/he will be serving.
- Plan in advance, Part 2: — Ensure there will be something you like to eat? BRING IT!
- Place everything you eat ON A PLATE — Eating mindlessly out of the potato chip bowl is a recipe for disaster.
- Plan for alcohol in advance — Planning on two drinks? Sip slowly and drink a full glass of water between drinks. Pace yourself and drink with awareness.
- Be aware of your surroundings — Are you eating because you are choosing to eat OR are you eating because you are mirroring someone else’s eating?
- Walk away! — If you feel like you are unhappy with the choices you are making …. walk away. Cognitive psychology demonstrates that when we change our environment we disrupt the behavior and can change the behavior in that moment. For instance, can’t stay out of the potato chip bowl? Grab a friend and go for a walk.
Lastly, have fun! Summertime is all about fun. Wear sunscreen, stay hydrated and eat all the summer produce you can before it’s gone — watermelon, peaches, berries, green beans, sugar snap peas — load up before it’s sweet potato time!
Looking for a quick way to reset the gut? Try our HealMyGut Summer Reboot to bring your intestinal flora to a state of robust health and diversity. Relief is on the way! Get Our Special Summer Reboot
Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters. You can learn more about coaching with Melissa Here