Diet - Meet Social Events

Social Events Don’t Have to Suck

If you read the title, and made it this far, the chances are good that you're embarking on your first (or second) nutrition adventure. Maybe you're working with a coach, like many of the awesome people at Xplore Nutrition are, or maybe you've decided to go at it alone. Either way, at one point or another the idea of going out with friends or that family party coming up are daunting to you.

Will you be able to avoid your friend's attempts to have you take a few shots with the boys? What if the girls want to go out tonight, and you're worried about the food that will be at the event they're headed to? This likely means that the thought has crossed your mind on how you can handle doing this without failing and falling flat on your goals.

Well, good news. You can navigate the world of being social, while still staying on track with your new lifestyle. But how? The following is a short list of strategies to help you head into the weekend or your aunt's crazy parties like a champion.

1. Eat before you go:

This one is pretty self explanatory, but it's also the one most people don't think to pursue. The goal? Try to enjoy a meal packed with lots of fibrous vegetables and a healthy portion of lean protein before you head out for the night, and chase it down with a big ol' glass of water. I know the idea of eating before you "go out to eat" is a little strange, but it can help curve the desire to slip up while still enjoying the company of your friends and family. 

Why do it? The fibrous vegetables and lean protein will help keep you full and satisfied for the longest period of time.

2. Plan your 'cheat' first, before anything else:

Are you hitting up ice cream later, or grabbing some drinks with coworkers on Friday night? Awesome, but try to plan those items in first before anything else that day. This mean if you're tracking your intake, that beer or waffle cone should be the number one thing on your list. Once that food or drink is in, plan the rest of your day accordingly to fit it.

Why do it? Acknowledging what you want first allows you to stay on track with the rest of your day to meet your goal.

3. Lean proteins, lots of vegetables, little to no carbs and fat:

So you're probably reading that point thinking "didn't we just go over that in point one?" Well, kind of. But this time it's a little bit different. Back in point one our goal was to have a big meal right before we head out. It's an awesome strategy that works if most of your day is already planned, and you just want to enjoy the company of those you care about.

What if your day isn't planned though? Or you're traveling, and don't have a way to track? The goal here is to pick a single meal that you want to indulge on, and keep the other two or so meals simple. This means that breakfast might consist of egg whites and some mixed vegetables, while lunch is a chicken breast and steamed broccoli. Then, on whichever meal you decided to let loose on, order what you want and feel good about it!

(PS - you can always order custom meals with lean protein and veggies at most restaurants, just ask.)

Why do it? Eating lean protein and vegetables in our other meals gives us some wiggle room for the one we really want to enjoy.

4. Mingle in the distance with a glass of water:

We've all been to that party where there's a table of food in front of us, cold drinks being carried every which way, and temptations as far as the eye can see. So what can you do in those situations? Well, two primary things; try to always have a glass of water in your hand and hangout somewhere away from the food table while you're at the party. 

The glass of water helps you stay busy, gives you something to drink (oh hey hydration), and keeps you feeling full. On the other hand, mingling as far away from the food table as possible helps starve any cravings you might get by standing closer. The old "out of sight, out of mind" mantra applies here.

Why do it? That simple glass of water will help you keep occupied as you enjoy kicking your moms butt in a game of bags as far away from the food table as possible. 

5. Avoid making a 'cheat meal' into a 'cheat day/weekend': 

This one is pretty straight forward; don't let that waffle cone or beer we talked about turn into an all week ice cream binge or the hangover from hell you wish you never had. Treat these things like just that, a treat, and something you've earned from your hard work lately. But just like most treats, try not to turn into the kid on Halloween that attempts to devour the entire candy bag until their stomach hurts! 

Why do it? One meal, one treat, or one drink isn't going to ruin your progress. But turning it into a months worth will.

6. Just say no:

Our last and final piece of advice is as clear as day; say no. For some of us, any one of the above five tips may be able to help us navigate the wonders of future social events with confidence. But for others, being in those situations may cause us to lose self control and spiral in the wrong direction. If this is you (and it's totally ok if it is), try to avoid those situations for now and focus on slowly introducing ones you think you can manage.

Why do it? Because saying no is ok, and helps keep you on track.Have other tips or tricks on how you navigate the weekend? Let us know! 

This blog was created by Xplore Nutrition founder & coach, Sam Karoll.