If you’re like me, you love a fun night out with friends or a spontaneous weekend getaway. However, these activities can have a detrimental effect on your healthy lifestyle and leave you feeling guilty about your excessive splurges.
Read on for five ways your social life can be packing on the pounds and solutions to help you stay fit without sacrificing the fun.
1. Late Night Munchies
My dad always used to say, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” I’m sure he was more worried about boys than my diet, but the same saying applies here. There aren’t many people who crave carrots and celery when it’s two in the morning, but I can name a handful that would do anything for a Cheezy Gordita Crunch from Taco Bell.
The main problem with late night binges is what you’re eating. It’s only a matter of time before the pint of Ben & Jerry’s in your freezer or the diner down the street become too tempting to resist. Don’t destroy all of your hard work by eating garbage! Instead, munch on something that is high in protein and fat, for example plain Greek yogurt or handful of almonds.
If you’re out and about, look for a 24-hour convenience store, as opposed to a fast food restaurant. Lets face fact; you are not going to order a salad at McDonalds while everyone else is biting into a Big Mac! At the convenience store, avoid foods loaded with sugar and carbohydrates, such as pretzels or candy. Smarter alternatives include a protein bar or small bag of unsalted nuts.
2. Excessive Drinking
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, four… and you might not fit in that cute little cocktail dress. Don’t get me wrong, letting loose and having one drink won’t make you overweight. But drinking alcohol on a daily basis or binging every weekend could prevent you from fitting in your skinny jeans this fall.
When out with friends, make sure you asses the situation and decide if it’s really worth wasting upwards of 500 calories on drinks. Is this the kind of night where you’ll be alone and in pajamas two hours later? If so, I’d suggest skipping the sugary cocktails and saving yourself a couple hours of cardio.
When drinking, be sure to order a glass of water along with your cocktail. This enables you to alternate between the two drinks and cut down on your total calorie consumption. Remember, the frozen margarita is a broken zipper waiting to happen. Instead, enjoy a light beer or a glass of wine when out with friends.
3. Peer Pressure
Friends are great. They’re always there when you need to vent about a co-worker or give a second opinion on your outfit. But when it comes to eating healthy, most friends are the worst! Have you ever tried to order a salad when your friend just got a burger and fries? If so, you’ve seen the “I cant believe you’re going to eat healthy right now” look of death.
It can be difficult to stick to your diet when your friends are constantly urging you to share an appetizer, split dessert, or enjoy a third round of drinks. Even trickier, is learning to say no without hurting anyone’s feelings. If your friends are the main reason you haven’t been able to shed the last ten pounds, you may want to let them know that you are really trying to make your life healthier and that you would appreciate their support in making smarter eating decisions.
Another option is to challenge your friends to eat healthier with you. Maybe even turn it into a competition! For example, the last person to lose five pounds pays for movie night. By getting your girls on board with your healthy lifestyle, you can actually build a support system that promotes clean eating rather than sabotaging your efforts.
4. Unplanned Activities
Spontaneous, spur of the moment activities make life a bit more exciting and enjoyable, but these unplanned activities can disrupt your eating schedule and result in dangerous binges. Have you ever gone too many hours without eating? If so, you’ve probably experienced that terrible feeling that comes from eating way too much way too fast.
If you’re on the road, and unsure when you’ll be eating, be sure to stock up on nutritious snacks. Grab a few bottles of water, a protein bar, fruit or veggies, and some unsalted nuts before you begin your adventure. Now, regardless of where you end up, you’ll be prepared with healthy options for the road ahead.
Similarly, your handbag is a perfect place to keep a healthy snack. The contents of my evening bag always include an ID, credit card, lipstick, and a protein bar. You never know when you might get hungry, especially if you had an intense workout earlier in the day. By having a snack with you, you’ll never have to leave a fun party or stray away from your healthy habits.
MORE: How to Snack Smart
5. Food-Filled Celebrations
Did you know cupcakes don’t have calories if you eat them at a birthday party? Or that wine turns into water inside the body when ingested at a wedding? Keep dreaming! Unfortunately, people tend to use celebrations as excuse to eat whatever they want without any regard for the consequences. There really is no such thing as a free lunch, and the same rule applies to what you eat at celebrations. Your waistline won’t forgive you for the appetizers, wine, and desert you enjoyed while hanging out with friends.
Avoid the smorgasbord of sweets and instead engage in fun activities. If you’re at a BBQ, skip the second cheeseburger and instead join your friends for a game of volleyball. Bachelorette party? No problem! Order yourself a drink, but then instead of immediately having another, hit the dance floor for some fun.
Remember, a piece of cake is a piece of cake, regardless of how happy you are when eating it. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a party and they don’t have to include diving head first into the chocolate fountain!
Want more? Check out this article for all of my diet and fitness secrets.
What other situations are ruining your healthy lifestyle? Post your questions in the comments section!
Alyse Scaffidi is the founder of Bite Sized Fitness. She is a Doctorate of Pharmacy student and knows how hard it is to make time for your health. Check out the sites below for more motivational tips, delicious recipes, and ideas for healthy eating.