Updated: Jun 6, 2019
Before we get into the food discussion that I promised a couple of weeks ago, I want to be very honest - I am not a calorie counter.
I don’t fast.
I don’t count macros.
I don’t take preworkout.
I do care about my health and I’m conscious of what I’m eating without all of the extra nonsense.
It’s easier than you think to eat well.
I’m a firm believer in the “everything in moderation” methodology; I know my body, and if I know I don’t want to feel bloated or gross, I just won’t eat pizza, ice cream or drink beer that day.
Over the past month, there have been so many opportunities to throw myself off my game - travel, visitors, anxiety-funk, and this awful summer heat.
My biggest distractions during the summer months, you ask? Well...
Temptations at every single rest stop. Why do I crave a soda on road trips?
Being left to my own devices at an airport, I could definitely see myself enjoying some Combos and Skittles. (Please tell me it’s not just me that craves those treats.)
Hanging out with friends, usually means trying so, so many tasty beers.
And if you put me in a room with more than ten people, I’m going to find my way to a cheese platter and never leave. Like, seriously - If you lose me at a party, ask the host where the cheese is. I will be there.
So how do I beat those distractions?
Even if you didn’t ask, I’m glad you asked!
These are my personal #lifehacks for enjoying the summer without feeling guilty, bloated, hangry, or some terrifying combination of the three:
#1. Pack Food for Travel. When Amol and I travel, we always pack food and water with us. If we’re flying, we bring an empty water bottle to fill after (read: ‘if’) we survive the TSA non-sensual adult massage point. “Yes, those are my hips, no there is nothing in there that’s explosive, please don’t look me in the eyes while you’re doing this.”
When I do need to go into a gas station (shudders in fear), I may still want to buy that soda (and let’s be honest, Twizzlers - and yes the black ones, those are “delicious”), but I’m able to fight the craving because we planned ahead with some better food options.
(There is always a dark chocolate bar hidden in one of our snack bags, of stuffed into my cheeks like a hamster in the late fall before the first winter frost.)
#2. Stay Hydrated. Hydration is so very important. Water moves those fabulous nutrients that keep us energized, lubricates our joints, and regulates our body temperature. In the summer, it’s incredibly easy to become dehydrated quickly.
When enjoying a beer or two (or more, don’t you count my drinks…) with friends, I make sure that I drink water. Not only does this help with your hydration, but water will make you feel full (and will make you pee like a small horse), so you might be less likely to drink more alcoholic beverages than you’d prefer. Might.
When I’m doing an activity where I’m losing a lot of fluid, like as hiking, spinning at CHS Rev, or boxing (yep - that’s a new thing, check out my instagram to follow that developing story), I know I need to replace those electrolytes lost to sweating.
Replacing electrolytes could be a post in and of itself - but to save time and your poor eyes - here’s how I manage to stay hydrated while exercising - I’ll sometimes take the easy route with Laird Superfood Hydrate, but I can get the same results by eating the right foods and adding a little bit of salt. High-potassium foods will help boost those electrolytes, which can be found in coconut, spinach, bananas, lentils, beans, dates, and raisins.
Stay hydrated, folks! No one wants to go to a beer festival and end up passed out under the shade of a tree, unless you do. (Not judging. Just saying. We’ve all been there.)
#3. Eat Before You Go. This is not always my go-to strategy when attending parties, but when I use it, it always works. When I’m headed out to a picnic and fearing that I will be stuck eating chip dip that isn’t being properly chilled (seriously, room temperature or heat exposed aerated onions can end you), I eat before I go. I’m not saying that I won’t eat anything at the event, that’s unrealistic, but if I have a meal ahead of time, I am going to make better choices while there and maybe, just maybe, steer clear of the cheese platter. Maybe.
#4. Bring A Dish. Heading to a dinner party, I can’t exactly show up and say, “No thanks, I’m full!” I might be a little bit of an introvert, but I still like to have friends and be invited to their homes for meals.
Instead of longingly staring at my friends while they enjoy a delicious meal, I bring a dish to share. My options; I make a mean salad and you can’t really go wrong with a homemade salad dressing - OR - I can bring something without beans, because this girl + beans + social interactions do not get along - OR - basically, anything that keeps me away from the cheese is helpful.
Fortunately, most of my friends are amazing in the kitchen, so I’m never too worried about my food options. But, there are certainly times that I know I’m going to be tempted by sugary treats - I mean, I would never make a marshmallow treat (you know the one…), but I would definitely want to eat it if it were sitting in front of me.
To make sure that I don’t leave a party with a cavity or unzipped pants (We’ve all done it), I bring at least one healthy option to decrease some temptation. (Please note: I am not up for sainthood based on this area of my life.)
#5. Enjoy and Indulge. If all else fails, screw it. Go ahead and freaking indulge. A few weeks ago, Amol and I were entertaining some out-of-town friends and found ourselves wandering through the Charleston City Market. Nothing says, “let’s get ice cream” like wandering around that hot and sweaty Market Center. Next thing we know, as if by some divine magic - we were in front of our favorite ice cream store ordering small cones. I have no idea where they developed their sizing structure, but the small could have been called “Good Luck Eating All of This.” (Related: I must be really lucky.)
If you can eat some ice cream without eating the entire half gallon or go on an ice cream eating binge for a month, by all means, eat the damn ice cream.
If you make a conscious decision to indulge, don’t you dare judge yourself the next day. You don’t deserve that negativity, especially not from yourself.
And as always, listen to your body and not the cheese. I swear it talks to me. Have you ever heard your name being seductively beckoned with a French Accent? There was once a piece of brie at a party...nevermind, moving on;
Please DO NOT punish yourself with exercise for what you eat, that’s just not how this works. Exercise isn’t supposed to be negatively associated with your food choices. That’s ridiculous and counter-productive.
If you need some additional ideas to survive all of those summer parties or want to discuss your favorite cheeses, please get in touch with me and we can chat about it...or we can sit on the floor and polish off a family size bag of potato chips and talk about how awful they are while we lick the salt off of our fingers.
Either way, really.