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With summer comes BBQs, picnics and parties, and many find it difficult to stick to a rigid diet plan. But there are some simple ways for people to continue to achieve their weight loss goals and still enjoy themselves this summer without sacrificing their social lives or fitness. Expert Kalli Youngstrom at Breaking Muscle, explained how finding a balance between both is very important for people to set themselves up for success.
She revealed that the warmer months usually mean nutritional goals are put on hold while the focus turns to indulging and relaxing, but not only can this postpone the achievement of people’s health and fitness goals but “often undoes previously achieved results”, too.
“So often, due to the ‘all or none’ attitude, I see people overlook simple and unnoticeable diet swaps, changes, and add-ins that make it much easier to stick to a plan without feeling like you are dieting,” she said.
“The moment you turn down a social event or outing specifically due to dietary restrictions is the moment you define your diet as being non-sustainable – and most often the time you throw in the towel.
“If you take a more flexible approach to dieting – and are less focused on whole foods and more focused on macronutrient needs – these swaps are great ways to make the most out of your macronutrients.”
She added: “Also if you prepare a game plan for how to navigate whatever social situation you’re going to be in, it will be possible for you to attend and enjoy your summer outing while still meeting your nutritional goals.”
Her top tips for sticking to a nutritional plan include:
Making food from scratch can be beneficial for those watching what they eat.
And Kalli revealed one of the easiest ways to stick to a diet plan during the summer is by being creative, suggesting to save on calories where they won’t be missed.
Kalli said: “I’m all for indulging every once in a while, but there are many easy ways to enjoy your favourite non-diet-friendly foods that won’t sabotage your fitness goals but will still satisfy your guilty pleasure cravings.”
A few of her suggestions include:
Using a sugar-free barbecue sauce instead of the full-sugar
Make home-made burgers instead of buying
Make a fat-free version of people’s favourite condiments
Let go of the all-or-none attitude
Kalli revealed people usually tend to either stick to their diet 100 percent, or go all out and eat everything.
“The interpretation of a ‘diet’ as being temporary or short-term reflects the inability to sustain it as a part of everyday life,” she said.
“When approached this way, a diet ends up being cyclical and fleeting. It’s most often during the summer season that someone fall off the wagon, and it’s because they maintain a mindset that it’s impossible to stick to a diet while still enjoying life.”
She added: “With only a few months of fun in the sun, no one wants to feel restricted or like they’re missing out on social opportunities.”
Instead of letting the season navigate goals for them, she suggested people should make small changes and change their thought process in order to achieve continued dietary success throughout the summer months, ensuring enjoyment as well as achievement.
A weight loss journey can be a lonely one, but Kalli warned by isolating themselves, it is a “sure-fire way” for people to set themselves up for failure.
“By choosing to continue to enjoy and attend social events and maintain your usual level of social activity, you will reinforce within your mindset that maintaining your diet is doable despite you required food choices,” she explained.
Kalli states: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.
“But if you prepare a game plan for how to navigate whatever social situation you’re going to be in, nine times out of 10, it will be possible for you to attend and enjoy your summer outing while still meeting your nutritional goals.”
She recommended checking restaurant menus in advance as an example, insisting people can almost always find something outing about that meet their needs without missing out on the fun.
By taking a more flexible approach to dieting and making the right choices the majority of the time, Kallie said: “I do believe you can indulge every now and then.
“But do it when you can make the most of it and enjoy it to the fullest, not just because it’s convenient. You’ll be glad you did.”
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