It finally feels like summer, which means I had to buy an air conditioner. Seriously these things are game changers and I’m so glad I gave in. Besides air conditioners summer also brings social gatherings and nights out. This often means drinking and eating out more often, which doesn’t always align with your health goals.
Last week I had two nights of eating out and drinking on work nights! Who am I?! While it was so much fun (and delicious) I was feeling less than stellar by the end of the week. I felt bloated and puffy and TIRED. Being social, whether it be with friends or coworkers or significant others, can make it tough to stick to your health goals. So how do you have all the fun but also be mindful and healthy?
It’s OKAY to be social and have fun even if you eat or drink more than usual.
I woke up feeling guilty on Friday. Guilty about not cooking the dinner that was waiting for me in the fridge. Guilty for all the beer that I drank on a work night. Guilty that I teach my patients to make small changes and I struggle with sticking to my own healthy habits.
I had drank four beers the night before and ate grilled cheese and truffle tater tots at 10pm for dinner. Is that a big deal? No. Was it a lot more calories than a typical Thursday night? Yes. But it was with friends and I was having fun! And I’m human and these nights don’t happen every day! When making health related goals I tell people to focus on their every day habits because those will have the biggest impact on your overall health. That means switching up your typical lunches or dinners, not focusing on the once a week or once a month events with friends.
Start your day off with a nutritious breakfast.
This is a must for me. Last week after my nights out I didn’t have my overnight oatmeal prepped and I honestly think that alone would have started my day off stronger.
When im feeling “off track” or “out of my routine” which often happens after times when I eat or drink more than normal I do my best to dive right back into my typical routine. That always includes oatmeal and peanut butter and coffee. If it’s a weekend then it might be a bagel. Your body needs nutrition and just because you had a bigger meal the night before doesn’t mean you don’t need fuel the next day.
Exercise when and where you can.
I hate the term calories in, calories out, but it’s essentially true. If you’re eating a bit more than you’re used to you may need to exercise more. Now I don’t mean you need to be doing 2-a-days (2 workouts in 1 day), but maybe walk to your errands (if you can) or take the stairs at work. Find easy ways to get in more activity. In my office we moved the trash can to the office next door so we are forced to get up more. Simple activities, nothing drastic.
This past week I hit over 10,000 steps both days that I was out being a social butterfly. I’m sure I would have felt more bloated and fatigued the following days if I hadn’t walked so much. It’s also fun to pair exercise with social gatherings. Thursday night was a 5k and this past weekend I went kayaking with a friend!
It’s okay to say no.
This weekend my friend wanted to get drinks and I simply told her I wasn’t planning on drinking. It’s not that I had any particular reason, I just didn’t want to. And the world didn’t end. We ended up lounging in the sun, people watching and talking instead. It’s so common to feel like you can only be social if you’re eating and drinking, especially when it comes to dating! Yet it is possible to enjoy each other’s company without it.
It’s also okay if you just straight up want to say no to something social. Humans need social interaction but we also need rest. After being out Wednesday and Thursday night I slept 13 hours Friday night. My body needed sleep. And you know what? I had to cancel plans with a friend because of it. And that’s okay!
Be social. Have fun.
Drink the beer if you want to. Say no if you don’t.
If you drink a little too much, get back to your routine the next day and maybe fit in a few extra steps.
Hang out with friends.
Chat for hours until you realize you haven’t eaten dinner and scarf down a few slices of pizza. The vegetables will still be there tomorrow.
If you eat more than normal your body will digest it and move on and so should you. Maybe cook a hearty balanced meal the next few nights.
Summer is a time to be social. If you’re trying to keep to your healthy habits, don’t overthink it. Find simple ways to move more and be social without relying on food or alcohol. And if it is involved, remember this isn’t your everyday. Have fun.