You know it’s coming so let’s get prepared for the 4th of July holiday this weekend. You have two choices: 1) You can throw caution to the wind and eat like there’s no tomorrow, or 2) You can plan in advance what you want to eat and enjoy your holiday food guilt free. When I was a big girl, I always chose option one. I may have just joined my local weight loss center the week before, but that didn’t matter to me. It was a holiday after all, and who diets on a holiday? Certainly not me. I remember one 4th of July where John and I had gone to a Sunday School party. There laid before me was the most wonderful assortment of food I had seen in a long time. Barbequed chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, chips, beans, and desserts which occupied their own special table! I went back for third helpings of the main dishes, and had a sampling of at least 5 different desserts. Then, when we got home from the party, I preceeded to forage in the pantry for the marshmellows, graham crackers and chocolate I bought as a special 4th of July dessert.
Don’t be like I was and throw good intentions to the wind! Instead, come up with a plan that will help you both physically and emotionally. I don’t know about you, but whenever I would eat like a glutton, I’d feel guilty. But as I was losing weight, and started to consistently make good choices, I felt good about myself emotionally. This 4th of July you can have a wonderful celebration, and still move your weight in the right direction. Here are some ideas to help you.
1. Plan ahead. If you are going to someone’s house for a cookout, offer to bring a dish or two that you will enjoy eating. I usually offer to bring a salad and a dessert. Salads are easy to make and good for you, and if I bring a low fat dessert, I’ll have some too.
2. Prepare mentally. You’ve prepared your food, but now you must prepare yourself. Know that there will be temptations at the event, and you should practice your reactions to those temptations. Will you eat some of everything, or just have a taste of your favorites? Can you look at Aunt Susie’s smiling face and fattening dessert and say, “No thank you.”
3. Decide what food you must have. There are certain foods we associate with certain holidays. If 4th of July isn’t the same for you without a certain food, please have some. Just don’t have too much of it! Don’t deprive yourself of what you really want, because that almost always backfires!
4. Enjoy the holiday itself, not just the food. By focusing on the friends, family and meaning of the holiday you can take some of the emphasis off the food. Sure Uncle Don does a mean barbeque, but visiting and talking with Uncle Don is more special than any food he makes. Adopting this attitude made a big difference in how I thought of, and handled holiday meals.
Here’s what we do for 4th of July: If we are at home by ourselves, we have Barbequed Chicken sandwiches on whole wheat buns, baked fries, healthy potato salad, pickled cucumbers, corn on the cob and a cheesecake for dessert. Does that sound unhealthy? No. Does it sound like deprevation? No. I still love food, and know that by continuing to watch the fat percentage, exercise portion control and move my body I will be able to maintain my weight. It took me over a year to lose 150 pounds, and throughout that year our family celebrated lots of holidays! Learn now how to celebrate by eating healthy, fun food, and you will be able to continue on your weight loss journey! Diane