No one is looking forward to the long July 4 holiday weekend more then I am.
We have had so many rainy weekends here in upstate NY so far this summer that I have not been able to do any of the things I normally do this time of year. Hiking, camping, and canoeing just to name a few.
But another great part of this particular weekend is the fact that we get to relax and cut loose a bit – kick our feet up, grab a beer, and indulge in all the great foods that are often part of holiday weekends – hot dogs, salads, watermelon, beer, etc.
We may even feel that since this is classified as a holiday weekend, that it is license to partake in these types of foods for the duration.
Now I’m not saying you are easily going to pack on the pounds after one weekend of partying, but you can seriously undo the success of all of the hard work you have been doing to get the body of your dreams and lose that unwanted body fat.
So I thought I would give you some tips for surviving the weekend relatively unscathed while still having a great time without feeling like you deprived yourself.
1. Stay active the entire weekend.
Now I’m not a big advocate of working off what you just pigged out on with a big workout the following day. That just doesn’t work. But if you stay active the entire time you have a better chance of the food you eat being burned off or stored in your muscles and some other organs as fuel for another time.
For example, this weekend Scott and I will be hiking one of the mountains in the Adirondacks. Not quite sure which one yet since we tend to fly by the seat of our pants. But you better believe that when we get back to civilization we will feel a ton better about whatever we choose to indulge in.
But you don’t have to go on a big hike to justify letting your hair down at your bar-b-q. You could also do multiple dog walks, do an Ultimate Home Workouts fat loss workout in the morning, play outside with the kids, have an adult volleyball game, or swim in the pool. The more of these you do during the weekend the better off you’ll be.
And not to mention all that activity will have you sleeping like a baby!
2. If you know you are going to a bar-b-q in the afternoon or evening, then stick to fruits, vegetables, and water for the first part of the day.
Fruits and vegetables have very high water content, a ton of fiber, and are nutrient dense (they don’t have a ton of calories). You can eat them all morning and be wicked full and satisfied to the point where you not only don’t want anything else to eat but you actually might be too full to even be able to.
Try a fruit smoothie in the morning like this one, perfect for the holiday weekend:
- 1 banana
- frozen raspberries
- handful of spinach (you won’t even know it’s in there)
- 1 cup almond milk
- a few ice cubes
- 1 scoop vegetarian protein powder
Then for lunch have a giant salad with as many of your favorite fresh fruits, veggies, and even nuts into it as you have on hand.
Once you’ve eaten both of those you can be confident when you get to the party that you have provided your body with whole, natural foods throughout the day and you can be a little more lax in your choices.
3. Don’t go to the party starving.
You’ve all heard this one before but its value is worth repeating it. If you go to the party having not eaten all day it is very likely that you will consume an entires days worth of calories (and possibly even more so) at the one meal.
Have a salad or some fruit before you go and you will be in full control of yourself when you have the spread in front of you.
4. Have small quantities of everything you want and then be satisfied by that. No need to go back for seconds.
Hot dogs, ambrosia salad, backed beans, macaroni and cheese, cheese and crackers, guacamole, salsa, watermelon, apple pie, ice cream, cheeseburgers! These are all things you will have available to you this weekend.
But what if you took just enough of each of these to taste them, be satisfied, and then stop eating?
Could you do it? Or do you HAVE to go back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths? And then pick at it all for the rest of the night?
5. Move away from the buffet table.
It isn’t rocket science. Don’t sit or stand by the food and you will feel less temptation to pick. Random picking at foods can really stack the calories up against you.
6. Do a fast the day after your big party or the first day after the weekend is over.
Intermittent fasting has a ton of health benefits including balancing insulin levels, encouraging the release of the fat burning and muscle building hormone, growth hormone, and can help bring you back into caloric balance, and if you’re lucky, caloric deficit – which is where you want to be if fat loss is your goal.
Brad Pilan goes more in depth about the benefits of intermittent fasting in his book Eat Stop Eat. But all you really need to know is this: from the time you stop eating on the night of the party, begin your fast and consume nothing but water and maybe a little tea until the same time 24 hours later.
7. Have fun and enjoy!
And by the small chance you are one of those people that is very strict and has superior control over yourself, tirelessly working to control your diet and exercise as much as you can to get the body you desire, then you might want to use this opportunity to enjoy yourself.
Everyone deserves a reward meal at least one time per week. So grab a burger and a beer and enjoy them. Just get back to your nutrition and exercise regimen the following day without guilt.
I hope you all have a happy and safe July 4 weekend!
Your friend & Coach,
Susan Campbell, MS, CSCS