• Ciaran O’Connell

Tips to stay on track as pubs open

We can now have a drink with our friends in a pub garden. It’s been way too long for most of us. This is a chance to see our mates after a long period locked away from each other.

But I’m sure many of you have discovered some healthy habits during lockdown and are worried that returning to drinking and eating out is going to ruin these. I’ve had this discussion with clients, and I’m about to have it with you.

There’s no denying that the pubs are home to some of the most calorific foods and drinks we could have. A generic pint of beer is 208 calories, and a generic glass of white wine is 120 calories. Then there’s the classic pub burger & chips which will be over 500 calories. Worst thing is if you decide not to drink you’ll probably opt for the coke or lemonade, and assuming this isn’t a diet version, you’re consuming more calories.

This sounds like I’m being the fun police telling you how many calories are in all the fun stuff you can’t wait to enjoy. I’m not. I’m just highlighting what we’re battling with when we return.

Here’s how you can manage your trip to the pub.

Cycle your calories.

This is the idea of managing your calories over the week to allow for extra calories on the pub day. For instance, a daily total target might be 2,500. Therefore in the days leading up to the pub outing you might reduce this by 200/300 calories. Letting you have many more calories to play with on the day and resulting in a total week calories that is the same as if you had consumed 2,500 each day in the week.

You may also use this method on the actual day. For instance, skipping breakfast to allow more calories to be had at a pub lunch.

A harder version of this is reducing calories the next day. This is hard because you probably will have a hangover and be tired. When you’re tired your body craves high calorie foods for the energy it provides.

Opt for low calorie options.

Light options of beers have become increasingly popular and can be a way of enjoying a drink with mates without the excess calories to worry about.

When it comes to mixers or non alcoholic drinks, opt for the ‘diet’ or ‘zero’ options. These have reduced or no calories in them. Love your G&T’s? Ask for a slimline tonic instead

Up your movement

If you know you’ll be having a few drinks and snacks when at the pub, try to increase your activity that day, the days before, or the day after to help create a larger calorie expenditure. You’ll also feel slightly less sluggish the next day if you get up and get moving.

Give yourself a break.

It’s been a while without seeing friends and having a good time in a pub. Let your hair down, relax, and enjoy the moment. You won’t have ruined your progress.

The next week move a little bit more, and eat a little bit less.

I get that going out for food and drink can be worrying for many people who have lost weight over the lockdown period in an attempt to get fitter and healthier. Just remember that one sunny day doesn’t make a summer. You won’t ruin everything over a fun couple of hours with friends.

Prioritise your happiness above everything. Enjoy your outing in moderation and you’ll be fine.

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