Darin St. George: Summer fun can mean bigger waistlines

Darin St. George

A bunch of recent family activities have put Trainer X squarely in "the danger zone" regarding eating and exercising. When tempted with the idea of having fun and chowing down with the ones I love, even yours truly sometimes needs to read some of his old columns.

And since I received such a great response from my column a few weeks ago regarding lowering your caloric intake while still enjoying some of your favorite culinary pastimes, I figured I could combine family and fitness (Trap!) and walk my talk with you.

Summer is the time when people "take time off" (when did they start?) or "do a lot of stuff outdoors" (read: lie in the sun and drink Coronas), so this may be just the life preserver some of you need as you drift aimlessly toward Margaritaville while enjoying the sun and fun just a wee bit too much.

So, as Andrea Jean makes dessert for a barbecue my sister is throwing later today, let me share with you a few strategies you can employ to avoid tap dancing on the scale come Labor Day.

Eat before you leave your house. I know this isn't exactly what you had in mind when you got up. You have been racing around, getting chores done, cleaning, readying the kids for the beach, etc. You probably haven't had any water and won't eat until you get to the party; this is the real Danger Zone! Carry your water everywhere in your house, and make sure you eat a healthy meal right before you leave (salad with chicken will fill you right up). Then, when you get to where you're going, you won't be dehydrated or tempted to gorge on all the goodies guests feel compelled to bring. Unless you're my wife.

Bring a healthy dessert. This family recipe (ice cream sandwich lasagna) recently won rave reviews from the most ardent group of critics known to suburbia: soccer moms. We brought it to an end-of-year soccer party for Taylor Rose, and some of the moms flipped when they heard how we made it. Layer Weight Watchers ice cream sandwiches with fat free cool whip and drizzle light Hershey's syrup on for a light topping, and you'll find yourself bringing something tasty but with half the calories of similar desserts.

Pray for rain! Just kidding. Know that on the journey that is fitness, you will often be on a less-than-safe path (parties, baby showers, etc.) and that it is inevitable. However, armed with the predisposition to succeed where you have often failed, you can make some smart moves and leave your family reunion with your less-than-full tummy and hopefully your Tupperware, too. Have a great week, gang.

Darin St. George is a personal fitness coach at Gold's Gym in Natick, Mass. Visit his Web site at www.myspace.com/darinstgeorge.