Summertime. If you are anything like me, you are outside enjoying everything your city has to offer.  From dawn until dusk I am swimming, paddling, hiking, riding or running and it is not uncommon to find me enjoying the sunset with a much deserved cocktail in my hand.

But, why is it that as active as I am I always enter the fall heavier than I left spring? Yes, a lot of it has to do with all of the muscle building activities that I am doing but I would be fooling myself if I thought that was the only reason why my pants are tight come Labour Day. The main culprit? Patios.

During this time, along with all of this glorious sunshine, comes patio and pool parties with friends that are full of great food and cocktails. A few beers, a sugary cocktail, some nachos and a burger and fries for dinner can cause havoc on your body, so you need to be careful.

Now I am not saying you have to show up to these parties or sit on a patio and sip only ice water while you snack on carrot sticks. But, if you let yourself run wild and let down all of your nutritional boundaries, you will pay the price a few weeks into fall. Here are a few tips to surviving this sunshine filled season.

Drink water, and drink lots of it. You need to stay hydrated in the heat, especially due to all the extra sweating, and your skin will thank you. If you know you are hitting a patio after work, stay away from anything liquid except water during your day. And when you order your first drink make sure you order a glass of water too. When the drinks arrive, drink your water first and continue to order a glass of water with each cocktail, going one for one. This will not only keep you hydrated but it will limit how many calories you consume on the patio.

Another one of my rules is you can have it all, just not all the time. What does this mean? Try not to enjoy all the guilty pleasures of the summer every day. If you are drinking margaritas then consider skipping dessert. If you want dessert, stay away from the appetizers. If it is the appetizers you are craving, opt for something light for dinner. At my summer cottage I love afternoon cocktail time, when we all gather on one dock and enjoy each other’s company, usually accompanied with tortilla chips, salsa, cheeses, meats and crackers. On days like this I have a very small and very healthy dinner but when I know a big family dinner is going to be served up on the deck later that evening, I skip cocktail time and head out on the stand up paddle board so I am not tempted.

Don’t spend your summer counting calories but watch your portion control and consumption of alcohol.  Start each morning with a healthy breakfast and a good workout, and spend the days following those amazing beach and backyard parties by filling up on healthy and hydrating foods, like cucumbers and watermelon, staying away from salt and choosing lemon water over sangria.  

Attached – Joss Stone enjoying the summer in France.