But all kidding aside, Jennifer's question is important. For many people, letting loose during the holidays or on a vacation doesn't just mean gaining a pound or two. Once the vacation is over and we're back in reality, it can be really tough to get back on track.
As the 4th of July holiday approaches, many of us are planning outdoor activities with friends and family -- and those activities usually involve food. Our own Debbie has come up with a few tips to help you stay true to your health goals while still having a great time. I hope you find them helpful!
- Eat regular meals and snacks during the holidays. You may be tempted to “save up” before you head out to a party so you can eat more when you’re there. While this approach seems logical, skipping meals before or after a party will not do you any favors. It slows down your metabolism, and if you arrive at a party famished, you'll likely make poor choices on what and how much to eat.
- Stay out of the kitchen to avoid overeating. Why torture yourself? Instead, enjoy your time off by going outside or engaging in other activities away from home.
- When attending holiday get-togethers, bring a healthy dish. Many will welcome a fresh vegetable dish or mixed green salad along with the traditional barbecue fare.
- Set up the exercise to offset the extra calories. The holidays are a busy time, but challenge yourself to find an extra 30 minutes in your day for physical activity.
- Focus on quality of food -- not quantity of food. You don’t have to sample everything at a buffet. Instead, choose 3-5 dishes that are the most appealing. Enjoy your favorites and skip the rest.
- It's easy to overeat at a buffet without meaning to. Don’t go back for second helpings you'll regret later.
- Stay to the back of the buffet line -- it reduces the temptation of wanting seconds. If you're first in line to get your food, you'll be finished eating before the rest of the crowd. As you sit with your empty plate, you might be tempted to head back for seconds so you can share in the camaraderie of eating together.
- Plan ahead to avoid temptations. Know what you might confront and how you’ll overcome it.
- Remember that drinks do count towards your calorie intake. Be conscious of how many calories you take in from soda and alcohol. While these drinks add significantly to your calorie intake, they may not curb your appetite for food. If you want to enjoy a little more food, save the calories from the drinks and choose water instead.