The 4th of July has come and gone, and chances are it may have seemed like one celebration or BBQ after another. With so many celebrations, vacations and perfect party weather, many people find that their summer wardrobe starts to shrink as their social engagements grow. Before you stop accepting invites, decide that elastic shorts are the only way to go, or feel like you can’t take your shirt off at the beach, check out these tips on how you can get right back on track and still enjoy the rest of your summer festivities.

Let’s talk BBQ’s! Sure, when you have your first BBQ of the year it can be hard to hold back, you’ve waited all year for fresh burgers off the grill, salads dripping in mayo and all the chips and dip your heart may desire. BUT, there is a point when you must let your BBQ nostalgia go. If you’ve already had your favorites rethink how you attend your next BBQ event. If every weekend you overindulge at gatherings, you can eat enough calories to sabotage your work week efforts. The easier ways to lean down at these events is to focus on real food first. Eat foods in their natural state: grilled chicken, grilled veggies, fresh fruit. Fill your plate with all the real stuff and pick a taste or two of the pasta salads or desserts. You can also lighten your load by skipping the “extras,” if you must have a burger or sausage with peppers, skip the bun – t it will save you over 100 calories. If you really want pasta salad, skip the alcohol. Can’t give up having a beer? Skip the dessert. It’s about balance! Lots of these outdoor events also have opportunities for burning calories too! Who cares if you aren’t good at volley ball or badminton, go give it a try. No one said you can’t stay active at the same time!

It may feel like every weekend is celebrating something like a graduation, anniversary, birthday or wedding. Some of these events also come with delicious, catered food. If you know you have a lot of celebrations this summer, pick your battles. If you can’t go to a wedding without trying the cake, skip your dinner roll and go easy on the alcohol. If you just love all the fun appetizers, do your best to not devour your dinner. Great calorie saving dinner tips include cutting up your main meal and offering bites to everyone. If you are at a restaurant you could also ask for a half portion. If you see a dance floor at your party…it’s just like seeing a gym. Get dancing! Burn tons of calories while having fun and making memories.

It’s not uncommon to see people going to extremes to lose those last few pounds before their summer vacation. Yet the second we step out of the car or off the plane we somehow rationalize a “card-blanche” when it comes to eating. We tell ourselves that “we are on vacation,” and we “deserve to eat whatever we want.” This is somewhat true. You likely have worked hard to be able to take time off and maybe even go somewhere fun, but don’t forget all the work you did before you went. If you typically eat well and exercise, that doesn’t have to end on vacation. No one says you need to spend your vacation in the gym, after all weren’t beaches made for walking? Stroll the beach and look for shells, grab a boogie board and catch some waves, rent bikes to see your vacation town in a whole new way. There are always plenty of ways to keep moving while on vacation. If you wear a step counter, see if you can try to get at least as many steps as you would at home. When it comes to eating out, look for ways to taste it all without over indulging. Order those fried clams you love, but for the table so everyone can have a couple tastes. Get a lobster roll and ask for it cut in half, so you can share that buttery goodness but also add in a salad to share. You get to have your favorites but also add in that fiber you still need too. Many people love hitting up their favorite ice cream stand on vacation. Order a small. If you don’t mind the difference, get a frozen yogurt. Better yet, ask for it split between two bowls and skip the cone that most people aren’t in love with anyway.

Life is short and so are our summers, but we still want to make sure we feel healthy and confident. If you are eating more and moving less, it can start to cause people to feel less comfortable in their own skin. Do things and eat in ways that make you feel your best. Looking your best will just be the added bonus. Have a healthy and happy summer!