Independence Day is one of the best holidays – there’s always so much going on and it’s a great time to socialize with friends and family, to relax, and just have an overall great time. If you’re like me, you’ve probably already started some of your festivities over the weekend. Yesterday, I was surrounded by grandmothers and great aunts that kept insisting I try their desserts; incredible, classic Texas BBQ; and, of course, plenty of beer and sugary drinks. It was all so wonderful – but you can bet your booty I woke up feeling incredibly full and bloated this morning. Holidays like the Fourth are definitely a struggle because we all want to indulge, but we know we’re probably going to regret it at least a little afterwards… especially if you’re trying to watch your weight.
So what’s the solution? How do we allow ourselves to feel like we can indulge without going overboard and hitting ourselves over the head the next day? In honor of the Fourth, I have provided 4 little tips that could help leave you feeling more guilt-free!
REMEMBER WHAT YOUR MOM ALWAYS TOLD YOU
EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES. I know, I know. They don’t sound nearly as exciting as the chips and dip, and I’m not saying to avoid other snacks completely. But there are a lot of perks to eating some watermelon or those celery sticks. First, they’ll help keep you hydrated. If you’re spending your day outside, in the pool, running around, you’re going to want to stay hydrated – and it doesn’t have to come from your water bottle. Produce like watermelon, cucumbers, and celery are composed mostly of water. Second, the fiber will keep you feeling fuller, longer. Eating a lot of simple sugars, fried potato chips, and (delicious) melty cheese is going to not only load you up on calories, but leave you feeling hungry again before too long. Try eating some fibrous produce at least 30 minutes before your main meal – it should help keep you from overeating (even though those burgers will probably be so good that you’ll wish you had the room to eat 6 more… or maybe that’s just me? Oops…)
You know the truth – that beer (or any other adult beverage) is not going to help you. It’s alright if you want to let loose and have a couple here and there, but if you’re truly concerned about your weight or making healthier choices, the obvious choice would be to avoid them. If you choose to indulge, just remember to consume in moderation and to drink plenty of water, especially if you’re out in the beautiful sunshine!
It might be tempting to sit… and sit… and sit… But let’s be real – you are going to be eating a lot, and it’s not going to be a negative thing to get up and burn some of those calories. For instance, at my family’s party yesterday, we played some kickball. It was a great way to get a lot of people out of their seats and to bond some! I have a huge family on my dad’s side and it always seems like there’s a handful of people at reunions that I’ve never met before (or don’t remember… again, oops); so being on a team with them was a good way for me to get to know them and make some connections. So play some games! Swim in the pool and keep your body moving! Get creative.
CUT BACK ON THE SWEETS
Cut waaaaaaay back on that sugar. The refined sugars in all of those cookies, brownies, cakes, and ice creams are not your friend, unfortunately, and you will feel their effects the next day if you have too much (and yes, sweet tea and sodas count). Sugar is one of the biggest threats to your health and weight. Does that mean you have to opt out of having any? No. You’ll hear me say again and again that it’s okay in moderation. But if you’re not craving sweet treats, know you’re full, or are feeling very convicted that you shouldn’t have any, then listen to your gut. I can already promise you that it’s not worth the physical or emotional trouble if you force yourself or overstuff yourself on these treats. Since everyone is different, there really is no one way to go about cutting back, but some ideas include:
- Giving yourself a (reasonable) treat limit
- Replacing some treats here and there with some fruit instead
- Eating half of a cookie or brownie instead of the whole
A lot of these tips can be give or take based on your current “dieting” habits. If you don’t already do these, then it might not be a bad idea to find a couple you know you can work on throughout the day. Overloading yourself with a bunch of rules might suck some of the fun out of the day or leave you feeling discouraged if/when you don’t do as well as you hoped. My hope with these tips are that you go into your day knowing what to look out for so you can make smarter choices!
The last “tip” I want to include that doesn’t necessarily have to do with weight management is to just have fun. Remember, your mental health is important, too! Have fun and make some great memories. Make smart choices, but don’t stress yourself out.
Have a fun, safe holiday!