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Friday, June 25, 2010

Balancing Your Social Life with a Healthy Lifestyle

It's Friday and for most of us, it means that after work today, it's the start of the weekend, hanging out with friends, going out to eat, enjoying some cocktails, and just relaxing a bit. You might find yourself wondering how in the world you're going to be able maintain your very very necessary social life while maintaining your fit, healthy lifestyle as well. Trust me, I understand needing to let loose sometimes but also know I don't want to overindulge and blow everything I've worked so hard on for just one evening of fun. I have some tips for you to make it a little easier to stay on track without abandoning your social life.

The first thing I do to stay on track is to make sure I work out on Friday. By working out, a create a calorie deficit which gives me a little more wiggle room that day. The more intensely you can work out, the better, as the more calories you burn, the more wiggle room you give yourself on your diet. Just be sure to stay hydrated and don't overdo it. I've heard alot of people say things like, "I can't eat that. It will go straight to my hips." If you work-out, you can reframe your eating habits a little bit ONCE IN A WHILE by saying, "I can eat that. I worked it off this morning." Or, "I can eat that because I'm going to burn it off on my long run tomorrow." Knowing that you're going to maintain your active lifestyle makes it a little easier to indulge occasionally.

Second, I try to pick just one area to splurge in. If I'm going to have french fries, I try not to also have chicken wings and pizza. Maybe I'll have french fries with a grilled fish sandwich or chicken wings with a salad. If I want dessert, I'll make sure the entree I order is very healthy, like grilled salmon or a nice salad with grilled chicken. Try to choose your indulgences carefully and not go hog wild. Another trick is to get chatty with your dinner buddies. It's not polite to talk with food in your mouth, so if you get a bit chatty, it will slow down your eating habits and give you time to keep your hunger level in check as you eat. Try it. I think you'll find it works.

A friend asked me about moderating alcohol so I want to touch on that as well. Alcohol and socializing go hand in hand so we all need tips to keep from overindulging. Liquid calories add up fast so choose carefully. If you know you're going to be having more than one drink, try to stick to light beer or wine, or even better yet, make wine spritzers where you mix white wine with some soda water. It cuts the calories but still keeps the flavor of the wine. If you like to drink liquor, you can also cut calories by replacing some of your mixer with a splash of soda water. For example, instead of ordering a vodka and cranberry, order a vodka and soda with a splash of cranberry. You'll hardly notice a difference in the taste but it will significantly reduce the amount of calories you consume. Another trick is to have one glass of water for every adult beverage you consume. This will not only keep you hydrated and help you to not regret your drink choices the next day, but it will also help to keep you feeling more fun which will help you avoid overdoing it. Try not to drink more than 1 drink per hour as well. I know, I know, easier said than done, but really try to slow down. It's never good for the waistline, you body, or your image to overdo it with alcohol.

Finally, another trick that works well for me to keep things in check when I'm out with friends is to get out on the dance floor. It's hard to dance with a drink in your hand and even better, dancing burns calories. You'll still be able to be social without anyone, including yourself, even noticing your moderating your intake. You'll still be the life of the party and be able to like your life the next day a lot more.

Hopefully, these tips give you some pointers on how to make your weekend a little bit healthier. You deserve to relax. You work hard! Have a great healthier weekend.

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