Eat That Sandwich!

when trying to lose weight, restriction rarely works, but moderation and substitution do

Kyle Frank

Finally, the time has come to wake up from our winter hibernation, pack away the sweat pants, turn off Netflix, and get out and enjoy the beautiful weather and all that Wisconsin and the Chippewa Valley has to offer.

Dieting in the summer can feel like a double-edged sword for some of us: We want to look and feel good as we are out and about, dressed in fewer layers and soaking up the sun, but then there’s the delicious foods from fairs, festivals, and cook outs – and let’s not forget about an ice-cold beer to wash it all down. Which path do we choose? Why can’t we just down a six pack and still be on the path to having a six pack? Maybe we can. It is possible to have the best of both worlds if we can find a way to meet in the middle. It will take some tact and mindfulness, but it is certainly possible.

Knowing what some of the common foods look like on a caloric level can greatly help you on your quest to enjoy decadent foods while remaining on track with your goals.

One of my newer clients recently asked me about my opinion on brats and if it was OK for him to eat them at a graduation party he was attending. My answer was the same as it usually is whenever anybody asks me if they can eat a certain food: a resounding, “Of course it’s OK!” We looked into the nutrition facts on the brats and after quickly discovering that one single brat took up more than one third of his daily fat goal for the entire day, he decided to opt for a substitution that we found together: a chicken bratwurst found at a local grocery store. One chicken brat had almost 4.5 times less fat than the original, was higher in protein, and according to him “tasted almost identical and may have even tasted better.” Simple decisions or substitutions like this can leave plenty of room for more of the fun stuff like desserts or an extra beer or two.

If you’re attending a party or cookout and you are tasked with bringing a dish to pass, you can sub in lower-calorie options, such as low-fat mayo or other condiments to make it pack a little less of caloric punch. A veggie and/or fruit tray is also a great option to hit up when grazing at the get-together.

Knowing what some of the common foods look like on a caloric level can greatly help you on your quest to enjoy decadent foods while remaining on track with your goals, as can knowing how to deviate and make substitutions when necessary. Viewing nutrition like a budget helps to allocate your choices without feeling deprived or running the risk of overspending. Want that funnel cake at the fair? Go for it. Maybe just wash it down with a bottle of water instead of lemonade. Cheeseburgers anyone? Don’t pass them up! Maybe opt for a leaner ground beef and/or a lower fat cheese. Want a few extra beers? No problem. Maybe pass on the giant handful of Doritos (you can have them any day). The possibilities are endless; spend your calories wisely and plentifully!

When it comes to weight loss, restriction rarely works over the long term. We need to find a happy medium of enjoying the foods we love while still progressing towards our goals. Life is too short to miss the enjoyment of time spent with friends and family gathering together for a summer party or cookout. If you stay tactful, mindful, and learn just a little bit about nutrition, you can still stay right on track with your goals without missing all he deliciousness that summer has to offer. It is certainly possible to enjoy yourself and make it to Labor Day unscathed. Cheers!

Kyle Frank is a nutrition consultant and weight loss and motivation coach with the Diet Doc Eau Claire.