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Surviving Summer Barbecue Season ~YOUR HEALTH with RICK BELLANTI

By: Rick Bellanti – July, 2019

Here we are once again smack in the middle of summer. Time to celebrate the nice weather and long weekends. We are now halfway through the year, time to look back and celebrate any achievements we may have had during the past six months.

No matter how small of an achievement, it is always good to look back and notice what we have accomplished since the beginning of the year. It may have been something as simple as not gaining any weight, to losing some weight, quitting smoking, running a marathon or just simply living life in a positive way. Keep going!

I find this time of year is easier to stay on track, than the winter months. The weather for one thing, is much nicer and you can get out for walks and runs and enjoy the fresh summer air. (Even walking your pet is more enjoyable). The warmer weather brings out all the freshly grown vegetables. If you have not started a program to eat healthier yet, then this is the perfect time of the year to start.

The winter months are all about staying inside keeping warm, making comfort food and celebrating holiday parties, where temptations are at their peak. I always say, don’t let a month on the calendar dictate how you will eat based on these holidays or the time of year.

Try to maintain a balance like always; keep up with your exercise routines and continue to hit that gym (maybe even extra if you are planning on going to eat more at an upcoming barbeque with friends). Make good food choices when at these get togethers, sticking to salads and healthy vegetable dishes, pick lean meats and fish, keeping away from the trigger foods like breads, sweets, pasta and potato salads, and (my favorite) ice cream. If it’s a potluck meal you are attending, then bring your own healthy food to share so at least you have a dish you know is healthy and you can enjoy,such as veggie platters and fresh salads or fruit salads (just watch the sugar content).

Don’t let the name, salad, fool you, keep away as much as you can from pasta salads and potato salads, not just for the carbohydrates but for the fats that are mixed in within them. Stick to vegetable salads or cut up veggies. Be sure to always load up on the vegetables first before diving into the meats. If you choose to have a burger, try skipping the bun and wrap the burger in lettuce, you will be surprised how much better it tastes because of the starchy breads that mask the true taste of the meats.

I highly recommended staying away from sugary sodas, energy drinks, coffee and alcoholic beverages, adding unnecessary calories and sugars. Drinking water is so important; remember your daily water should be half of your body weight in ounces daily, keeping you hydrated in these hotter months, fuller longer and flushing out your system. The holidays are about celebrating with family and friends and not about dieting, so indulge if you want to, but keep it within moderation.

Don’t forget, summer get togethers with friends and family are not just about eating! Have some fun, throw a ball around with the kids, play with the dog or go for a swim. Any activity will vamp up your metabolism and burn some of those calories you are consuming and if you are being active, then you are not hovering over the picnic table eating chips and salsa.

The idea is to go out, enjoy the summer weather, and be with friends and family; you do not want to deprive yourself of the fun, company, and food you love. Remember this is a lifelong commitment and a few treats along the way are not going to reverse all your hard work. A healthy lifestyle is about making good healthy choices. Stay hydrated, watch your portions, think fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoy your summer!

Rick Bellanti is a wellness columnist and is on a journey himself to lose 240lbs and has lost 160 lbs. since the start of 2015. If you have any questions or comments, please post them to his Getting Healthy with Rick Bellanti Facebook page and once a month he will address a few of the topics here. ◊

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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