Holiday Weekend Diet Survival Tips

Family on vacation having barbecueIt’s hard to believe July 4th is almost here! Hopefully most of you will get a 4 day weekend. While this means getting away from work and relaxing, it can also be filled with food, booze, BBQs and parties! Not to say this a bad thing, but considering it’s a 4 day weekend, the “damage” can really add up  – whether you are watching your weight, blood sugar or cholesterol. With a whole season of BBQs and summer “fun” ahead of us, it’s time to be aware of potential problems and come up with a plan on how to handle them.


Potential problems at BBQ’s and summer  parties:photo-52
1. You are often there for many hours.  Summer parties tend to start in the afternoon and run into the evening. The longer you’re there, the more food & drink you 
will likely consume.

2. An abundance of food. Since the grilling can go on for hours, you may feel tempted to have a little “taste” of everything. A burger here, a hot dog 15 minutes later, then some ribs. A hour or so later, the steak goes on the grill, so why not have a little piece? And this is not even counting the side dishes.

3. Too much booze. With the hot weather, the beers or vodka and lemonades can go down very quickly. The calories add up quickly too! 

4. Decreased willpower. With increased alcohol, your discipline can fall by the wayside. And even if you don’t drink, the longer you are there, the more likely you’ll keep eating. 690245

5. High calorie choices. Often times, fatty meats such as ribs will be served, along with high calorie side dishes such as pasta or potato salad.

6. Social pressure. It’s kind of expected you overeat at a BBQ or party. “What – only one burger?Have some steak, ribs and potato salad!”

7. The long weekend may mean multiple parties and no time to “recover” in between. One of my clients told me he was double booked with parties several days this holiday weekend. Kids parties from 4-7 pm then adult parties 8 pm onward. 

8. Holiday mentality. “It’s the holiday and I deserve to eat/drink what I want”. True – we all deserve some time “off the reservation”. But think how you will feel on Wednesday morning if you strayed VERY far off the reservation. Is it worth it?


BBQ and party damage control tips:
1. First, get in the right mindset.
You don’t have to go “hog-wild” at a BBQ or party. You can turkeyenjoy yourself without overeating. Or maybe indulge in what you want at one party, but pull it in at the others. 

2. Don’t go to the BBQ hungry.
Low blood sugar will only lead to overeating. Make sure you have a light meal several hours before the event or a snack right before.

3. Drink A LOT of water during the event. This is important for 3 reasons:
-it will help you to stay hydrated in the hot weather
– it will give you something to drink instead of alcohol
–  it can help make you feel fuller so you MAY eat less food. Club soda is even better as it can help bloat you and make you feel more full. Add lemon or lime for more flavor. 

4. Plan ahead. If possible, find out what will be served ahead of time. This can help you prepare mentally what you will eat in advance. If most of the food choices seem on the heavier side, offer to bring a green salad or sliced vegetables ready to be grilled (see below).

5. Survey the options. Once you get to the party, take notice of what the food options are. Plan in your mind what you will eat instead of starting in on the foodblack bean burger frenzy. You don’t have to taste everything that is served. Wait for what you really want – even if it’s something higher calories like potato salad. It’s better to have a smaller portion of something you really want than to load up on burgers, hot dogs and steak – without feeling satisfied.

6. Portion control.  If you want a burger and a hot dog, take one without the bun. If you are watching your carbs, decide what’s most important to you – the bun on the burger or the pasta salad. Or maybe have 1/2 the bun and a very small portion of the pasta salad.  Load up on more veggie dishes. 

7. Include healthy options if the party is at your house. BBQ’s can be quite healthy. You can grill fish, skinless poultry, veggies and fruit. Serve a vegetable salad instead of potato or pasta salad. 

9. Don’t sit near the appetizers or snacks (i.e. cheese and crackers,  chips and dip).

10. Engage in physical activity like frisbee or volleyball. This will burn calories and get you away from the food and booze. Pic credit

11. Try to fit in a workout before the party or BBQ. This can get you into a healthy mindset which might help you control your food and alcohol. 

12. Offer to bring a healthy side dish to the party – like a platter of crudite or fruit. See below for more ideas:

Here are some suggested side dishes and recipes:

Rainbow quinoa salad: Popsugar   (see pic)
Corn, tomato and avocado salad: Popsugar
Mediterranean Bean Salad: Skinny Taste
Watermelon, feta and mint salad: Womanista
Arugula & strawberry salad: Foodnetwork.com
Grilled ratatouille salad: Foodnetwork
Edamame salad: FoodNetwork
Hearts of palm salad: FoodNetwork
Charred green beans: FoodNetwork

What are some of your favorite foods to serve at (or bring to) a BBQ or party?


How to Lose Weight Over Age 40

Losing weight is never easy, but it gets even harder after age 40. Many of my clients are women in their 40’s and 50’s seeking my help in losing weight. The majority of them tell me that they haven’t made any changes in their diet or exercise … but the pounds are slowing creeping on … especially in the belly area. So while it’s often more difficult to lose weight as you  get older, it’s definitely possible! 

I was interviewed for an article, 21 ways to get a flat belly after 40in EatThis.com. Here are my tips (including some that did not get published). 

My top 10 tips to lose weight over age 40:

1. Be patient. For many women in their 20’, it’s relatively easy to drop 10 pounds by cutting back for a few weeks. But as you age, your metabolism slows. What worked in your 20’s no longer works! The trick is to stay the course and be patient. Eventually, the scale will drop.

2. Get your zzz’s.  In your 20’s, you can get away with late nights and minimal sleep. But in your 40’s, your body doesn’t rebound as well. Too little sleep hits you harder  the next day with less motivation to exercise and increased hunger for fat and carbs.

3. Exercise smart. Your body doesn’t heal as well as you get older. Less may be more. Try shorter more intense exercise session, like HIIT (high intensity interval training)

4. Pump some iron. We loose muscle mass as we age. Weight training can preserve/build muscle mass, which will help to speed your metabolism.

5. Booze control. Your body doesn’t metabolize alcohol as well as you did in your younger days. Remember your college days? Scary. But now, even 1-2 alcoholic drinks can make you feel “off” the next day … as well as interfere with your sleep. The results – more carb cravings and decreased motivation to eat healthy and exercise the next day.

6. Tame your late night munches. Your metabolism slows as you age which can be quite noticeable in your 40’s. 

7. Curb your carbs. We become more insulin resistant as we age. This means our bodies don’t process carbs, especially the “white” or sugary ones, as well as we did in our 20’s and 30’s.

8. Eat a lighter dinner. Newer studies on our bodies circadian rythms are suggesting calories eaten later at night, especially carbs, are more likely to be stored as fat and cause metabolic disruptions. I often suggest having a protein shake for dinner a few nights a week to kick-start weight loss. 

9. Log what you eat …and scrutinize. An extra 50 calories a day can lead to a 5 pound weight gain a year. The majority of my clients find keeping food logs very eye-opening and helpful in promoting weight loss.

10. Stress management. No one has a stress-free life, but I find many women in their 40’s and 50’s have even more stress – career, aging parents, kids in college, etc. Chronic stress can raise cortisol levels which contribute to weight gain. Find ways to deal with your stress that don’t involve eating. Suggestions: meditation, yoga, talking a walk, exercise, reading, listening to music, and talking to non-irritating friends!


 Read the full article here: 21 ways to get a flat belly after 40


If you are over the age of 40, what has helped you lose weight?

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