When the heat rolls in, you know what that means: grilling season!
BBQ's and family get togethers are one of the things that we most look forward to when it comes to summer...except when we're trying to lose weight or get healthier. When it comes to reaching our goals, summer BBQs can be a nightmare! Usually you're not controlling the food and there are plenty of things available to you (some of them your favorite dishes that you've been looking forward to aaaalllll winter) that you aren't typically "allowed to eat" when you're trying to lose weight.
What if we told you that you could enjoy your summer BBQs and family get togethers WITHOUT being "that guy" that brings their own lunch and refuses to partake in any of the festivities?
What if you could enjoy BBQ season AND lose weight?
This guide will give you all the tips and mindset shifts to help you continue to move towards your goals without giving up the things you can enjoy.
In order for you to lose weight and keep it off long term, you have to be able to encorporate any plan or program into your lifestyle. If you had to give up BBQ food for the rest of your life in order to sustain your goals, would you? Probably not! And you shouldn't have to.
Remember the rule: everything in moderation?
That's how you create a healthy lifestyle...everything in moderation.
If you're truly working towards your goals you should be able to eat what you want, as long as you're keeping this in mind and making intentional choices with your food with your goals at the forefront.
When it comes to your mindset and being intentional start with these five tips:
1. Eat a protein heavy breakfast and go light on carbs and fat in the front part of your day: If you know you're going to a BBQ, start being intentional early in your day. While protein is usually available at BBQ's, it's not always the leanest protein (think burgers, dogs, and chicken thighs), so you want to make up for it in the beginning of your day. Start off with a protein heavy breakfast, maybe a protein shake with egg whites and oatmeal. Depending on what your favorite BBQ foods are you may also want to go light for lunch that way you have room to indulge once you get to the BBQ.
2. Give yourself a "free window": The reality is that one day is not going to derail your from your goals. If you're eaten light throughout the course of your day, give yourself permission to enjoy yourself at the BBQ. This may mean a 1-3 hour "free window" where you give yourself permission to eat the things you normall wouldn't. Guilt won't get you to your goals, and if you want a sustainable healthy lifestyle, that means incorporating events and fun times into your life. This free window is not a free day, nor a free weekend, and if you're working with a coach game plan with them on what method will work best for you!
3. Set an intention: We've already said multiple times throughout this article to be intentional about the event, but you may be thinking: "well, what does that even mean?" Being intentional means being able to distinguish between what your body needs to reach your goals, and what you desire, and bridging the gap between the two. You may strongly desire to have the potato salad, and the ice cream sunday, and the smores at the end of the night, but if you're being intentional you know that indulging doesn't mean over doing it just because you can. It's recognizing that you have those desires and choosing the best path that will move you forward without feeling like you're completely missing out. Setting an intention is taking time before the event to pre-set those moments. Examples could be: I will only have 2 alcoholic beverages, I will choose only 2 sides to indulge in, If there is a lean protein available I will choose that one. This will give you the mental wherewithal to opperate within the guidelines of your goals.
4. Eat before you go: A common philosophy that we see when going to events is to not eat prior, so that you can eat all your calories at the event and not feel guilty. This is not only counterproductive, but can also be harmful to your journey if you currently struggle, or have a history, of binge-eating. This goes right in line with the "good food/bad food, good me/bad me" cycle that can keep you forever in that dieting mentality. If you don't eat anything all day you are 100% more likely to indulge in every. thing. you. see. and then feel guilty about it because you ate so far out of line with your goals. This will then prompt you to eat super light (or not eat at all) the next day...and the cycle continues. Instead, try eating before you go. If you eat a normal size lunch, you won't be hungry enough to eat everything in sight and this will allow you to be much more intentional in what you choose to indulge in. You might notice that you feel more satisfied post-bbq as well!
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Hydration is so important, but so rarely thought about when it comes to trying to lose weight. Hydrating is super important for a lot of different reasons, in the summer especially because it's so hot. Proper hydration can prevent you from being hungry (often we think we're hungry when we're often thirsty), prevent heat-related problems, and help counteract the sodium content that is often in a lot of bbq foods.
When it comes to actually being at the BBQ and navigating it, use these 5 tips or mix and match from the tips above to create the perfect game plan for you!
1. Cut the fats: Choose leaner cuts of meat for your protein. Hold the cheese, and oily marinades. If you're looking ot pack in some flavor, try out low sodium spice blends, or make your own.
2. Bring your own booze substitute: There are lots of other refreshing options other than cracking open a beer. Seltzer water with a citrus twist, or packing a Nutrilite Twist 2 Go or N* Fizzy Tab will keep you hydrated while saving room for your delicious meal.
3. Be condiment savvy: Cream-based dressings, ketchup, mayo and classic bbq sauces are chocked full of carbs and fat. Stick to mustards, low calorie hot sauce and reduced ketchup for your meats. You can also find many sugar-free versions of your favorite sauces at your local grocery store. Dress up salads with lemon juice, apple cider or balsamic vinegar.
4. Offer to bring a dish to the party: Having a side-dish or lighter dessert option available is a great way to enjoy the night while having a "go-to" food if options are lacking. Every host appreciates a gracious guest, and it's one less thing for them to look after!
5. Don't be shy to scan as you go: If you are using a macro-tracking app, one benefit of the more casual backyard feast is that bottles, bags, and boxes are often part of the self-serve setup. If you need to scan in a serving of crackers of double-check the content on a salad dressing-go for it!
We hope this guide helps when it comes to navigating summer bbq's, but if you need more help or you're not sure on how to apply this to your life feel free to fill out your information to see if 1:1 coaching with your nutrition would be a good fit for you!