9 Helpful Tips to Navigate Your 4th of July Parties
Guest Blog written by IRON Personal Trainer: Samuel Chewning
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It wasn’t too long ago that we were all preparing for the New Year and setting resolutions.
Fast forward to now, and we are about to celebrate 4th of July! This holiday in particular tends to come with a lot of celebrations. This typically means an abundance of food, drinks galore, and typically a lack of general exercise. This year is even crazier, since the holiday falls on a Wednesday. It’s very likely that many people (maybe even you) will be celebrating all week long, more or less. (No judgments! Us too!)
It’s totally okay to take time off and to live your life without worrying about what you’re eating and drinking, but there is also a way to enjoy your time with family and friends AND not go off the rails with food and drinks. It’s pretty simple too, and only takes a little bit of pre-planning.
Here are my 9 Helpful Tips to Navigate Your 4th of July Parties and keep you on track while still having a great time celebrating our country with your family and friends:
- Don’t Show Up Hungry. This is big. You know when you go to the grocery store hungry and buy #ALLTHEFOOD? Same applies here. If you show up hungry, you’re more likely to over eat (it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal that you’re satiated). Instead, make sure you’re satiated before you get to your party!
- Eat High-Protein Before the Party. The foods that taste the best are typically high carb and/or high fat. Of course, you’ll want to enjoy some of that, so the best way to prepare for this without derailing everything is to eat higher protein/lower carb & fat foods throughout the day leading up to the party. For example, eggs and turkey bacon at breakfast, a salad with chicken (or any other protein source) – lots of veggies – light dressing for lunch, a protein bar or shake if you want a snack, greek yogurt, etc. This will do a few things for you: a) protein keeps you satiated longer, so it will help you to not be hungry when you arrive at the party; b) you’ll have gotten a majority of your protein requirements for the day in, meaning you can snack on some carbs/higher fat foods at the party; c) you’ve consumed some foods with a high number of micronutrients and can afford to have some of the foods with less of those (chips, cookies, etc).
- Bring Food to Share! A great way to ensure that there are some options for you that aren’t complete junk is to bring some of your favorite healthy-ish items. Pick up the lean burger patties while you are getting ice for your friend’s party, or bring some veggies and dip.
- You are In Control of What You Eat. While you might have some friends that don’t care and want to just go HAM on all the food, that doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing (unless you want to). You are in control of what you eat, so choosing your portion sizes, sitting to eat, and putting the food you want on a plate will help you to do that. Rather than continuously eating straight from the bowl of chips (which usually leads to eating more than expected), having a somewhat strategic approach to what you’re consuming will help you to stay in control of how much food you’re eating.
- Avoid Going Overboard with Alcohol. It’s a party, and if you want to have some drinks, get it girl! (or boy) But alcohol not only adds up quickly in the calorie department, it also lowers your inhibitions and you’re much more likely to find yourself passed out with a half-eaten taco strewn across your chest. Hilarious meme on the internet, but not a hilarious feeling when you wake up the next day. If you want to drink, there are a few things you can do:
a) Stick to your lower calorie liquors (Pro Tip: tequila is lower in calories and your body absorbs and process it faster) b) use the 1 to 1 rule. Every beer or liquor drink you have, follow it up with a bottle of water (and don’t get your next drink until you finish that).
- Eat the Stuff you LOVE, Pass on the Stuff You Don’t Care About. It’s easy to go to a party and start having a little of everything. I mean, we all love pretzels and chips and cookies, right? But what are your favorites? Instead of having a little of everything, choose the snacks/desserts that you really love and pass on the ones that aren’t as enticing. It’s always okay to enjoy indulgences in moderation, but why eat the stuff that doesn’t taste amazing? Not worth the extra calories if you’re trying to stay moderate.
- Workout on 4th of July Morning Before you Party. This is a good routine to develop for every holiday. Do something healthy for yourself to start the day, and you will be more likely to make healthier decisions throughout the day. Something quick and easy is fine, so don’t feel like you need to go crazy (and fun fact: IRON is open from 5am to 1pm on 4th of July, so come here and get your sweat on before the festivities!)
- Participate! More than likely, there is more going on at the party than just eating. Join in on the fun! If people are playing games or dancing, join in! This way your sole focus isn’t on the food. If games and dancing aren’t really your thing, use this time to catch up with old friends or make new ones. Enjoy your food and drinks, yes, but enjoy the other stuff going on around you too!
- Lastly, Don’t Beat Yourself Up. Remember, this is only one day (or a few days) and even if you do decide to go wild and eat/drink everything in sight, it will not stop you from reaching your goals. Remember, there are 365 days in the year. 3,4,5 of them being “off” aren’t going to ruin everything. It’s what you do consistently on a daily basis that leads to big results and changes. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate your holiday, be grateful for the body you live in. Love it. It allows you to move, laugh, eat, drink, and be merry, so don’t lose sight of that.
Enjoy your body. Tell yourself what you love about it every day. Remember to be kind and consistent with yourself. Your body is an incredible tool. Use it, explore it and have fun with it.
Happy 4th of July everyone! Love yourself and your country.