Social Enjoyment and Nutritional Anxiety

Sunny.  Blue sky.  Longer days.  It must be getting close to summer here in Minnesota.  We never know if a mid-June snow storm will interrupt those plans, BUT one thing is for sure, patio season has arrived.

The vitamin D is fantastic for our health and mood, however, when spring and summer roll around we often find ourselves with invites to more weekday happy hours and weekend get-togethers.  The summer holidays bring barbeques and outdoor ball games bring hotdogs, beers and my all-time favorite, soft pretzels.  One thing many of us struggle with is how to balance having a social life, especially during the resurgence of quality weather, with sticking to a healthy life-style.

It is likely unrealistic to eat a 100% clean diet 100% of the time and never leave your house to enjoy an outing with friends and family.  Will this approach grant you a lean body and a six-pack of abs?  Maybe!  I say maybe because no matter how hard we try or how strict we are some of us will never have abs – trust me I know.  However, I challenge you to ask yourself if this sacrifice worth the potential outcome.  For some, the answer may be yes.  Maybe you have goals to be an elite level athlete or a fitness competitor of some sort and this sacrifice is necessary to that process and worth it to you, that is absolutely okay.  I would hazard that most of us do not fall into the above category or if we do, it may be temporarily.  Chances are most of us are in the process of obtaining or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  If that is you then the moderation really is the answer.

YES, you can attend social functions and enjoy family and friend get-togethers at any stage of your healthy lifestyle process.  I am including a few tips below to help maximize your social enjoyment while minimizing your nutrition anxiety when the inevitable situations arise.

  • If you have a big night out planned front-load your protein intake for the day – we tend to intake more carbohydrate and fat heavy foods when we go out so including protein with your earlier meals will keep you satisfied and ensure you are more balanced at the end of the day
  • If you have a brunch or a mid-afternoon party maybe elect for two meals versus three hat day since you’ll likely intake more than normal
  • Show up to a gathering having eaten a small (protein heavy) meal close to arriving.  You will feel more full and less likely to pick at foods you may not even really want
  • Have a glass of water for each drink you enjoy
  • Instead of having a full drink try adding a calorie free pairing – you can make a white glass of wine more refreshing and less calorie dense by splitting it with seltzer water – la croix is all the rage these days
  • Check out the menu before you arrive at a restaurant so you can come up with a plan. You can always ask for things to be prepared without oils and butters, dressing on the side, etc.
  • Bring your own healthy dish to a party or barbeque so you know you will have a choice you can enjoy without stress
  • Select a lean meat or fish to pair with an indulgence or pair an indulgent burger with greens
  • Stash a protein bar and or beef jerky in your bag – this can be a great relief if your hunger creeps in and is a convenient choice

Enjoy your life but remember moderation really is key.  One indulgent meal or a fun night out will not sabotage your healthy lifestyle or progress and no food is a bad food.  Life is meant to be lived to the fullest.

If you want to know more about how you can maintain a healthy lifestyle and enjoy your life email me!  nutrition@uptowncore.com

 

-Amy Moser

Balancing Act

How to stay on track during the busy summer

We hear it all the time. Balance. Everything in moderation. Too much of something is usually never a good thing.  But how? How do we balance work, fun, stress, nutrition, exercise, sleep, etc? Some people are great multi-taskers and doers, others not so much and need to focus on one thing at a time.  In my opinion, simplicity and happiness is the answer. Keep it simple, don’t overthink it, and make sure it brings you happiness.

I don’t know about you, but my summer brings a lot more social activities, weddings, BBQs, patio meet-ups, and sporting events.  These typically involve eating out or meals that I do not prepare, alcohol, more sitting that moving, and great conversations. If this is happening at least a couple times a week it can get overwhelming and cause some anxiety in a lot of people.  I love going to these fun events because they bring me happiness, but sometimes the guilt sets in the day after indulging.

The way I have dismissed the guilt and tackle the busy nature of summer is to make sure I am balancing the things in my life.  I eat nutrient-dense foods every day, drinking plenty of water, getting in daily movement or exercise (variety), prioritize sleep, and take time for me FIRST.  If my life is way too busy or if I am feeling much too overwhelmed or stressed, I have learned to say no. Setting yourself up for the summer chaos by taking care of yourself and your health first is going to make you feel much better about indulging at social outings.  It’s about the balance. Here is an example:

There is a potluck BBQ/bonfire on a Saturday afternoon.  I know I am going to eat there and try a lot of rich foods and also have a few alcoholic beverages.  Here are some tips on how to stay balanced and on track:

  • Eat a nutrient-dense, healthy breakfast. My go-to, well-rounded breakfast: egg/egg white/turkey sausage veggie scramble with a side of fresh fruit or a side of oatmeal topped with berries and some peanut butter.
  • Get in a workout, a hike, bike ride, or a long walk (No, NOT extra exercise because you are indulging later. Just get some movement in!)
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day (and bring a full water bottle with to the BBQ)
  • Have a lighter lunch with plenty of vegetables, a good protein source, and some healthy fats (Bed of greens topped with fresh veggies, grilled chicken, and avocado with homemade vinaigrette)
  • Make a healthy side dish to bring to the BBQ so you know you will be eating a side of something you prepared at home
  • Have a snack before you go to the BBQ. NEVER go on an empty stomach. That often leads to binging and getting uncomfortably full. Favorite snacks: greek yogurt with chopped nuts or granola, cottage cheese, an apple with cheese, veggies dipped in hummus, a rice cake topped with deli meat and cheese, or a couple hard boiled eggs
  • At the BBQ focus on the social aspect and time with your friends and family
  • Decide how many alcoholic beverages you are going to have at the BBQ (a reasonable amount) and stick to it.  Going overboard with the alcohol can easily lead to going overboard with food as well
  • When you are hungry, dish up a balanced plate with a good protein source, some veggies if available, and try a couple small servings of other sides. Do not overload your plate because you can always have more if you are hungry
  • Do not immediately go up for seconds or to try other foods. Give your body some time to digest and feel how satisfied you really are
  • Enjoy the party. Socialize, play games, relax
  • Be home at a reasonable time to get in your zzz’s

Now it is the day after the BBQ.  Maybe I feel tired or I drank and ate a little bit more that I had planned.  That is OK. Now here is what I DO NOT do the day after some indulging:

  • Lay around and feel guilty for indulging the night before
  • Go exercise for longer than normal to try and burn off the food and alcohol I consumed last night
  • Restrict calories and food because I ate way too much yesterday
  • Eat zero carbs because “carbs are bad and can make you fat”  

*See Coach Dane’s last post about Carbs

  • Go get a really greasy, delicious breakfast, order pizza for dinner, and then eat a pint of ice cream because I already ate a ton and indulged yesterday, so my weekend is already ruined. What’s another day.
  • Lay and sit around all day binge-watching netflix (Hey, sometimes you need that, though)

The next day, carry on like any other day.  It is a new day. Yesterday is behind you. Eat nutrient-dense foods, drink plenty of water, get in a quick workout or go on a walk, read a book, watch some netflix, etc.  Do you see what the difference is between your average day and the day after indulging? Absolutely nothing. It is balance. It may take some time to be compassionate with yourself and kick the guilt out, but it can and will happen.  You can train yourself to have balance with everything in life, not just your nutrition. Stay tuned for future posts on how to balance other things in life.

My challenge to you this summer is to try and find that balance that brings you both happiness and health.  Do the things you enjoy doing and leave the guilt behind. You only have one life to live. If you need some help, our nutrition coaches at Core Health Chiropractic are here for you.  Please contact us at nutrition@uptowncore.com

Be well,

Coach Janna

Carbs: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Carbohydrates:  Good or Bad?

“Oh I can’t eat that, it has carbs in it.”   Really?  Is that how people view carbs?  The evil macronutrient you are to avoid at all costs?  Don’t vegetables have a carbohydrate content!?  Sure, excess carbohydrates, which require water for storage, can lead to weight gain.  However, excess of any macronutrient can lead to weight gain!  The basic idea of a diet builds around energy balance.  In the case of a lower carb diet, the restriction typically leads to less energy in.  If coupled with exercise and proper energy out, someone loses weight.  It should be that simple.

But we do need carbs, especially athletes and active people.  Why do we need carbs and what are they good for?

For starters, we all need carbohydrates as energy transfer depends on it.  Our brain and red blood cells also need a continuously available supply of it.  We should get these complex carbs from high fiber sources including vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.  This leaves us feeling full longer.  Highly processed carbs digest quickly and lead to spikes in blood sugar and typically coming along with high amounts of sodium and preservatives.  (HINT:  Eat real food!)

Now that you know you need carbs, you could be strategic about when you eat them if you want to dive deep in to your nutrition.  Build your carb intake higher around your workout times to help fuel energy!  Carb intake will vary per each athlete.  Many endurance athletes have an ectomorph build.  They are often tall, lean, have trouble putting on mass and they tolerate carbs very well.  A power lifter in a strong man competition may need far less carbs to fuel their body and rely more on protein and fat.  The most important factor of carb intake is not to avoid it, but rather to work with your coach to understand how much you need and where to get useful carbs from.

Move well.  Eat well.  Be Well.

Written by,

Dane Schneider, Pn1

dane@springhillgc.com