How To Stay Healthy & Stay Social

As a twenty- something living in a city with delicious restaurants, coffee houses and bars on every corner, I can safely say that most socializing revolves around food or alcohol (most times both).  Whether it's meeting up with friends, going on dates or socializing with coworkers, a lot of social activity involves the consumption of money and calories.  Food brings people together and is a great place catch up with old friends or learn about new friends.

Eating out & having a few drinks isn't a bad thing and you shouldn't avoid it.  You shouldn't feel bad about it either. It's fun and a great way to socialize with a bunch of people. But it is hard for those "dieting" or even those being health conscious.  Eating out limits your options and limits your knowledge about the food you are consuming.   You might be tracking calories, trying to increase your veggie intake or increase your protein intake (important especially if you are weight lifting). Whatever your health habits are it's sometimes hard to stay on track while out and about.

The key to eating out and socializing is everything in moderation.  You've heard me say it before and you will hear me say it again "Everything in Moderation" is the way I like to live my life.  You can indulge without guilt and you can still lead a healthy lifestyle. Healthy is not just what you eat, it's how you treat your mind, body and soul.  To me, in order to be healthy you should never deprive yourself.

With that said, there are a few ways to stay on track while out and about. Here are some of my tips for staying healthy:

Tips To Eating Out:

1. Order appetizers instead of entrees: Entrees at restaurants tend to be a lot larger than what a "normal" portion size should be.  Its easy to over indulge when it's right in front of you being presented as a meal. Appetizers are usually smaller and just as delicious as entrees.  Ordering a few appetizers to share with a bunch of friends is an easy way to try a bunch of different meals also.  My roommate loves to call it American tapas or "small plates" as my boyfriend and I like to call it (See: Netflix Iliza Sheslinger)

2. Start with a some side salad or a plate of veggies:  Filling yourself up some up with some healthy calories before indulging gives you a nice base so you don't feel like an endless pit.  It's easier to over indulge on fatty food and greasy food when you haven't eaten anything for a few hours.

3. Don't Feel like you have to eat everything: Leftovers are the best!! If you bring leftovers home, you don't have to cook or buy another meal the next day. I'm sold.  Don't be afraid to ask for a doggie bag and take it home.  Like I said earlier, entrees are usually pretty large and are wayyyyy more than you really need in one sitting.  Split the meal in half and take some home.

4. Drink water as you consume alcoholic drinks: Not only does alcohol dehydrate you but sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Staying hydrated keeps you from eating endless calories that never really satisfy you.

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Margaritas are great. But sometimes you need a glass of water in between

5. Plan Ahead: Take a look at the menu beforehand so you don't feel pressured to make last minute decisions. When you know what is going to be offered, it's easier to make a healthy choice than when you pick the first thing you see.

While eating out and drinking can be fun there are a ton of other ways to socialize with friends and family. I won't turn down a good dinner out or grabbing cocktails with the girls or my wonderful boyfriend but I have found some fun alternatives.

Fun Ways to Socialize in Boston:

1. Rock Climbing: Rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville is a great way to socialize with friends and get a mini workout in. You have to space out your climbs because if you do too much too fast you will burn out therefore you have time to chat with friends and have a conversation. I also think it is a great way to meet people.  Everyone is so friendly and is trying to crack the code to get up the wall that they are so helpful. It's not an exercise you have to do without stopping so you don't have to worry about panting when learning about the latest gossip from your friend.

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BKB Somerville!

2. Hiking: There are a bunch of great places to hike just outside of Boston.  One easier hike/nature walk that I recently did with my friend Kerry was the Fells.  We left from Medford high school and spent an hour or two walking about and catching up.  Not only did we get in a great workout but we were able to hang outdoors and still carry a conversation.  Another easier hike on my bucket list is the Blue Hills Reservation. It's a great place for a date too! Romantic and active :)

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Hiking/ Nature walking the Fells with Kerry!

3. Cooking dinner with Friends/Significant others: Cooking dinner! Who would have thought? It's just like going out to eat but you can control what you are making and how big your portion sizes are. I've made so many yummy meals with my boyfriend. Added bonus-- you save money by buying your own ingredients and getting the cheaper bottle of wine from the grocery store.

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One of my favorite meals to cook with Casey Chipotle Shrimp Tacos!

4. Shopping on Newbury Street:  I'm sitting Newbury street killing time before I go teach yoga as I write this I forgot how walkable it is. There is great shopping and mini coffee shops in the area.  You could spend the whole day exploring and while you might stop for a snack here and there I'm sure you will burn for calories walking up and down than you would think.

5. Kayaking on the Charles: Renting a set of kayaks and going up and down the Charles is a great way to spend a summer day.  You burn calories and you stay cool!

Like I said, eating out and socializing isn't bad for you.  You just can't go out every night indulging left and right.  Not only will you probably gain weight and run out of money, but you will just feel crappy.  Everything in Moderation!

Namaste!