Why does it seem that “fun” and “delicious” always seem to be…unhealthy? This goes double on holidays. Sure, the Fourth of July means independence. It also means:
- Chowing down super-sized portions of fatty food
- Being seated for hours in an ergonomically incorrect beach chair
- Arching your neck upward for at least an hour’s worth of fireworks
- Bombarding your ear drums with explosions and the Oakland Symphony
- Did we mention the huge amounts of junk food?
Pointing all this out doesn’t automatically make you the party pooper. Sure, it may feel like you just took the fun out of everything. But in reality, you’re giving yourself and others a chance to do the impossible: party and stay healthy at the same time!
From Downtown Livermore to the Alameda County Fair and beyond, there are many fun July 4 options to choose from. No matter where you celebrate, you can do your best to make body-friendly choices.
6 Ways to Celebrate Without Ruining your Diet
1. Plan ahead and/or make special requests
If you know a particular road will have traffic, you plan ahead and choose a different route. Why don’t we apply such simple logic to our health? Let’s begin with three suggestions:
- Eat at home
No matter what’s sizzling on the grill, you won’t eat too much if you’re full. Time it out to have a full meal before leaving the house. If your day involves a long drive, bring healthy food for the roundtrip.
- Talk to friends/ask for help
Contact the host and request certain food options. This is especially helpful if the planning involves a group email or chat. Get others involved and help them feel more comfortable asking for veggies and fruit!
Give the control back to every guest.
2. Portion control
Sometimes, the best you can do is less. By this, we mean eat less. You may do your best to be prepared but end up stuck at an event brimming with junk food. If you have to eat, control those portions. Chew slowly and don’t go back for seconds.
3. Bring your own food (and water)
Depending on the scenario, you may be able to take matters into your own hands. Literally. You can eat before. You can make requests. But what about bringing your own food? If there’s a host, talk to them. If it’s a public event, there’s nothing odd about loading a cooler with the meals that work best for you.
4. Volunteer as designated driver
Not all the junk and calories are hiding in the food. The alcoholic beverages can ruin a diet as fast as anything you eat. The responsibility of being designated helps you stay fit and others stay safe.
5. Combine activity with celebration
Encourage your fellow partiers to work up an appetite with some sports, games, and activities. Also, stay mindful of your own behavior by not remaining sedentary all night.
6. Be the host!
It’s daunting to throw a big holiday party but, it sure puts you in control. You can find the ideal balance of holiday staples and healthy options.
What if self-sabotage overwhelms self-care?
There are times when all the helpful tips in the world don’t matter. We already know what the wrong choices are. Yet, they draw us to them like a magnet. What do we do when the issue is much more than just a holiday cookout?
You may need a guide—someone with a background in both mental health and physical wellness. Working one-on-one with a therapist and coach at Healing Happens Therapy can lead you to a new, healthier form of Independence!