Cheat Meal day! …and 7 tips to avoid summer BBQ weight gain

By: Quinton de Bruin

Well the first week is drawing to a close. It has been a great week all things considered. Generally speaking, the training side of things has been reasonably straight forward. I have been able to have a workout of sorts on the days I wanted to. The meals have been fine and as I have said before, it is not like the foods are all that different to what I would normally have anyway, I would just be a bit more specific in my choices.

Being a firm believer in celebrating successes, I was going to enjoy the day that has been planned to be the cheat meal day. It was also a training rest day, so all up a very relaxed start to it. Turns out breakfast was at a café and it was what I would order on any day – eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato and mushrooms, so that's not the cheat meal. As this was more of a brunch time meal than a breakfast one, the idea of lunch didn't cross my mind. Possibly just as well.

The weather was hot and it was a day that had BBQ written all over it! I enjoyed a few Heineken Lights with the guys – trying really hard not to think about how many I should be having or not having. On the table was the most amazing grilled cheese dish, drizzled with honey and nuts – great on crackers!

Abel (The Fat Burning Man) talks about enjoying the cheat meals and not feeling guilty – so I did! Earlier in the week I did picture a very different cheat meal happening, you see if someone put a plate of cheese and crackers in front of me and a desert/slab of chocolate – I would pick the sweet stuff every time. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. I did enjoy the nibbles and I did enjoy the drinks so I can't say I didn't claim my one cheat meal for the week!

In a way, the encounter with the spread of nibbles, did bring about a point which I know many people question or are uncomfortable with and that is how to work your way through summer barbeques and having fun with friends while being mindful of not hitting winter in your 'fat pants'. Timely then to share a few of my own tips on how to map these events into your lifestyle so that they are part of the plan rather than the excuse you couldn't follow through on your goal. Here they are:
1. Keep a food and exercise journal – This doesn't need to be some major task. You can keep this on an App on your phone or in a diary if you run one. Reviewing your journal before heading out to the BBQ gives you the opportunity to look at what you have already eaten for the day and whether you have done the training. By the time you roll into the BBQ, you will know whether you can have the cracker and cheese or if you'd be better leaving it for someone else.
2. Focus on the company – Mentally preparing before arriving at the even to make an effort to be sociable will reduce the likelihood that you will find comfort in hugging the chip bowl or pulling the savoury platter closer. When it is time to eat the food you came there for (i.e. the BBQ) enjoy it! Grab a plate head for the salad and vegetable dish selection first; skip the rolls and garlic bread and rather opt of a succulent steak or a moist chicken breast.
3. Google it – we all have the one dish or item that we find irresistible. Check out the nutritional information on it and the calories it will give you. This may be enough to help you avoid a second helping.
4. Be a healthy host – hosting BBQs is a bit of a task in that you clean your home, and then clean up afterwards. The advantage though is that you get to control the menu to a large degree. Traditional BBQ favourites like potato and pasta salads can be adapted with a funky alternative which not only impresses your guests, but allows you to eat healthy foods.
5. Take a plate – if you are invited to someone else's event, offer to bring a dish that's part of the main meal rather than desert. This way you can ensure there is at least one dish that you like and is healthy that you can load up on along with your choice of protein.
6. Exercise potion control – we have spoken about mindless eating. BBQs are no different. You have managed to stay clear of the snacks and it would be easy to loose control when there is a massive selection of the BBQ buffet. Stop, look and consider what you will have.
7. Employ the 80/20 rule – The aim over summer is to eat health for 80% of the BBQs and accept that there will be ones where the desert just is too good to pass up on. Allow yourself to indulge every now and again and enjoy it.

I haven't really had a need to write them down before but there they are. I have they serve you well – 80% of the time, they work well for me. Summer is a fun time and no one wants to feel like they can't have a great time because they needed to watch their eating habits. The tips above brings back the meaning of summer and that is having fun and memorable times with family and friends followed by a feast of great fresh meats and vegetables and a large helping of laugh out load moments. Brink on week 2, we got this!

The small print: now is probably a good time to encourage you to have a discussion about your personal situation with your doctor, a nutritionist and the Body and Motion trainers to work out how best to achieve any challenges you have in mind. The thoughts in these blogs are my own personal opinion and shouldn't be taken as direct advice. Some of the choices around what I consume or what activity I partake in may not be endorsed by Body and Motion. However, the team will always be keen enablers of your fitness goals! Talk to us today.


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