From time to time, I like to check out what other fitness and health professionals are posting on their blogs regarding specific holidays, so I did a search for health tips for the Fourth of July. What I mostly found was fitness pros sharing a list of rules that had very little to do with fun and more to do with restricting behavior and dieting. Ugh!
The whole point of celebrating a holiday is to have a good time and participate in the festivities. That usually includes eating foods that are traditionally served on that specific holiday. It’s something we look forward to and it’s a wonderful way to bring people together.
It also includes a change in routine. It’s possible that you may skip your normal exercise routine that day and that’s totally ok and normal.
What’s not ok is feeling guilty because you skipped your workout, drank a mimosa before noon, and ate three helpings of Aunt Sue’s famous potato salad or something similar. I’m sure you are getting the picture. We all like to celebrate differently. 🙂
I’m not suggesting complete gluttony and I think it’s a good idea to move throughout the day. However, it’s important that you celebrate the way you, your family, and your friends choose to.
Take the pressure off of yourself and have fun. It’s totally possible to do healthy “nonrestrictive” things for yourself while you celebrate.
Here are five simple ideas:
Buy quality ingredients. No matter what recipes you decide to follow or food you choose to serve, buy whole foods and quality processed foods.
Move because it’s fun and feels good. Sitting around all day can make your body stiff and make you feel sluggish. Activities like hiking, flag football, bocce ball, horse shoes, swimming, and marching in a parade are all fun ways to stay active without it feeling like a chore.
Spend time being grateful. Take a moment to be thankful that we live in one of the best places in the world. This great nation allows us to pursue life, liberty, and happiness each and every day. For that, I am truly grateful!
Laugh. Laughter is good medicine and helps relieve stress.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and eat hydrating fruits and veggies like celery and watermelon. Staying hydrated helps your metabolism function at it’s best.
This Fourth of July, I encourage you to “declare your independence” from the restrictive side of the fitness and diet industry. Eat foods that you enjoy and agree with your body, and choose exercise you like.
Have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday.
God bless you and America!
Shared with love,
Two years ago our dog (Dillon) and I marched in our local parade on the Fourth of July. It was super exciting to be part of the celebration honoring the birth of our country and the people who fought for our freedom. Our sweet Dillon went on to be in Heaven a little over a year later. I will always be grateful for the memory of that special Fourth of July I shared with Dillon and the rest of our town.
However, I have a confession to make. There’s another reason I had agreed to do it. I wanted the exercise. It seemed like such a great way to get my workout in for the morning and celebrate at the same time.
One of my secrets to weight management without dieting is to get exercise on days I will be indulging. I don’t use this method only on the Fourth of July — I practice this principle all summer long!
Here are a few simple tips to help you enjoy your holiday without worrying about weight gain:
1) Exercise. If you are walking in your local parade, this is a great way to get exercise. Committing to an event will help keep you on track when you might be tempted to “blow off” exercise.
You don’t have to be in a parade to get exercise on the fourth. You and your family and/or group could walk or hike before all of the grilling starts. Try calling to set it up in advance. If it’s too tough to fit in — plan fun, active games. You can have a blast and help prevent the mindless snacking that can occur while visiting.
2) Go Light. Having a potluck? Bring the lighter version of your traditional dish. Something as simple as substituting regular mayonnaise with the light version can cut back significantly on calories! Google is great for helping you find the lighter fare without compromising taste. Ask other friends if they want to bring light dishes as well. If appropriate, why not make “cooking light” the theme?
Choose leaner meats for the barbecue. A Kielbasa sausage has 330 calories. That doesn’t include the bun. Substitute with a chicken sausage that has 170 calories.
3) Make calorie conscious choices. Enjoy the spread, however limit foods like chips and dip. A couple handfuls of chips and two tablespoons of dip is usually a serving and can have 200 calories easy! Load up on fruits, veggies, and green salad. Take smaller “taste size” portions of the heavier dishes like potato salad. This allows you to keep from feeling deprived and stay on target with your weight loss/management goals.
Substitute sparkling water or plain iced tea for sweet tea, energy drinks, and soda. Wine and beer have a lot less calories than blended “umbrella” drinks. If you plan on drinking some of your calories, you may want to skip dessert or vice versa.
Make a plan before the party starts. For example if the tea is sweet, I”ll choose water.
4) It’s only one day. You have to really pig out to gain weight in one day. However, the fourth can set the tone for the rest of the weekend and even the summer. If you overdo it, get right back on your normal eating and exercise plan the following day. It may take some self control, but you’ll feel better in the long run.
Have a super fun and safe Fourth of July! Go out and create amazing memories with the ones you love that you will cherish forever.
God bless you and America!