It's the 4th of July and that means parties and picnics! Fun stuff, but deadly to diets. Fortunately, if you have a good strategy, you can get through the day without overloading yourself with stuff that makes you feel lousy. Planning ahead is key. Try these strategies to maintain your healthy intentions without feeling deprived.
1) Plan for extra calories during your party or picnic, but don't arrive starving. Skipping breakfast and lunch so you can have an indulgent dinner just ensures you'll go crazy and eat everything in sight. Plus, your metabolism will be sluggish and less able to deal with the overload. You'll probably also feel physically crappy, which is no way to plan to enjoy a party. So eat reasonable amounts leading up to party time, especially fiber and water-rich foods like fruits and veggies to help you feel full without loading up on calories.
2) While you're there, don't hang out next to the food. Occupy yourself with conversation or activities so you're not constantly thinking about the apple pie that's sitting over there.
3) Before you start noshing, take a survey of what's around and ask yourself what you'd really like to eat. If you absolutely love ribs and chocolate chip cookies, go ahead and have some. Don't try to avoid them, start munching on everything else, and then give up and have a double serving of ribs and cookies anyway. Give yourself what you really want and enjoy it slowly, savoring. Then, when you're done, unless you get physically hungry again, you're done.
4) Don't let other people guilt you into eating something you don't really want. You don't actually have to try Aunt Sally's newest lemon merengue recipe unless you really want to. If you don't, explain that you're stuffed and just couldn't enjoy it. If she pushes, ask to take some home with you, then bring it to work or wherever and give it away.
5) Ask for support. This might be from a friend, relative or spouse who is able to be supportive without being negative. It might be someone who is also trying to be healthier and change their eating habits, or it might be someone who's already good at these things who's sympathetic to your goals. When you're feeling anxious because you're worried about overeating, or you find yourself eating the whole bag of pretzels that you don't really even want, or you just need a distraction so you can stop being bored and going back to the food table, go to your pre-arranged support person and have them listen, talk, give you a hug or whatever you need.
6) If you're going to drink, alternate your drinks with water. This will prevent hangovers and probably have you drinking less than you otherwise would. Some alocoholic drinks are CRAZY full of calories. Certain mixed drinks can have up to 800 calories a pop!! Here is a page for calories content of many drinks (Pay attention to the serving sizes - you're probably going to be having more than a fluid ounce of whatever you're drinking).
7) If you go overboard, take some deep breaths, forgive yourself, and move on. It does NOT mean your day, week or whatever is ruined; it does not mean you're a failure; it does not mean you should give up. You're a human being and are going to have setbacks. Learn what you can from the experience and move on. Dwelling only causes pain and is not going to fix what has already happened. You have control only over what you choose to do in the present, so choose to laugh it off and try again.
I hope you all have a great Independence Day!