With summer in full swing, a number of special celebrations are probably about to populate your social calendar. Whether it’s a bridal shower, a wedding, a family reunion, or a birthday bash, you can easily celebrate life’s milestones with your friends and family and stick to your weight-loss goals. Thanks to the abundance of vegetables and fruits available during this season, there are likely to be plenty of South Beach Diet–friendly offerings at these festivities. And while there are also sure to be fried foods and other unhealthy dishes served, if you’re equipped with strategies to overcome temptations you’ll be able to stick to your healthy eating plan. To help you stay on track with your diet, follow these tips for surviving the summer party season.
Weeks Before the Party…
Set realistic weight-loss goals. Stressing over fitting into that summer dress or suit by party day? Don’t let the countdown cause you to resort to extreme weight-loss measures. Remember, slow and steady always wins the race, so don’t go to drastic lengths to lose weight faster — you’ll only gain it right back. Instead, set a weight loss goal that you can feasibly reach within your given timeframe and then focus on other big-picture goals, like preparing healthy, homemade meals, sticking to an exercise routine, and making sure you’re getting enough quality sleep at night. By turning your attention away from the number on the scale, you’ll improve other aspects of your lifestyle that will help you lose weight faster and keep it off. And you’ll look and feel great for that special event to come.
Consider going to an exercise boot camp and commit to a workout routine. Whether you’re stuck in a weight-loss plateau or want to burn more fat and calories, exercise is the sure-fire way to make the pounds melt away and have you looking great for your upcoming event. Boot camps have programs for all levels of fitness so beginners and seasoned athletes alike can start at an intensity that is comfortable for them. Be sure to talk with your doctor before you make any sudden changes in your level of activity, though, especially if you’ve been inactive or are age 50 or older. Many people who have joined group exercise boot camps find that they are better able to stick to an exercise routine and stay motivated after they stop going. Can’t find a boot camp near you? Rally a group of your friends and family members together and schedule a morning exercise session at your local park. Working out with a group of people with similar goals will incentivize you to keep up with your exercise routine and stay motivated.
- Use visual cues to stay motivated. Putting a photo of a polka dot bikini or that pair of yellow swim shorts you’ve admired on the fridge can be a regular reminder to stay focused on your goal of wearing that coveted swimwear, or that cocktail dress, or that smaller-size suit on party day. If the clothes idea doesn’t work for you, a goal number can also serve as a visual reminder of the pounds you would like to lose. Put up photos and magnets, carry key chains, or wear a necklace or a sticker on your exercise shirts or sneakers with that magic number. This visual cue will help keep you focused and put you in a work harder mindset each time you see what you've committed to.
On Party Day…
Enjoy a healthy snack beforehand. Before you party it up, be sure to enjoy a nutritious snack that suits the Phase of the diet you're on. On Phase 1 have a handful of dry-roasted nuts, some hummus and veggie sticks, or a Jumpstarts Carb Control South Beach snack bar. On Phase 2, have an apple with some nut butter or one of our Phase 2 protein- and fiber-rich snack bars. By having a snack before you head to a social event, you avoid giving into temptations once you get there. If you’ve already had your mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack on party day, better to have a small third snack before going than to overdo it once you get to the event.
Bring a healthy party platter to the celebration. If you’re attending a party and are asked to bring a dish, why not take along some delicious South Beach Diet–friendly fare for everyone to enjoy? Even if you’re not assigned a dish, bring something that you can enjoy just in case the foods at the party are not on your meal plan. Some dishes that are great for entertaining are our Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus for Phase 1, or our Roasted Zucchini Bites, or our Summertime Sweet Potato Salad for Phase 2.
Go easy on the alcohol. At weddings and other parties that feature open bars and servers walking around with trays of cocktails, it’s easy to overdo it with alcohol. If you're on Phase 1, you won't be drinking anyway (have seltzer with lime). Once you're on Phase 2, our usual recommendation is one alcoholic beverage a day for women and up to two for men, but you can splurge a little on a special occasion. Red or white wine is your best bet, but you can also enjoy light beer or a 1 1/2 ounce serving of spirits like gin, vodka, rum, Scotch, tequila, or bourbon in a mixed drink (avoid sugary sodas and fruit juice as mixers). If a toast is called for, do enjoy a small glass of champagne. Cheers!
- Delight in dessert. Dessert on the South Beach Diet? Of course. Passed desserts, and in some cases, dessert buffets at parties can present many temptations, but you can have your dessert and eat it, too, if you stick with our "Three-Bite Rule": Take three bites and then put your fork down for a few minutes; you'll likely find that you are satisfied with just that amount of sweetness. If you’re still tempted, simply leave the dessert and walk away.