Many of you will gain weight this July 4th holiday if you're not careful. You can easily gain 5-10 pounds over the 3-5 day holiday stretch. I'm not going to rain on your good times......just plan your good times and you will control your weight gain.
Make plans for your fireworks holiday just as you do for regular week days. It is crucial that you make plans for what you are going to eat, especially if you are traveling. Hasty eating decisions often lead to high-calorie, fat-filled foods and/or overeating.
Here are 5 eating rules that will safely guide you through the July 4th holiday:
1. Get full on protein foods first. It will help you eat less of the condiments, desserts and other high-fat foods at the picnics and gatherings. Foods like nuts, ham, turkey, chicken, fish, etc. are great foods to eat. Protein helps control your blood sugar if you happen to eat carbohydrates. Protein also fills you up and leaves you satisfied on fewer calories.
2. Eat your calories. Chew your food slower. One quick way to "blow a hole" through your meal plan is to drink too many empty calories contained in drinks like sodas, sugared fruit juices and designer coffees. These are empty calories because they do very little to keep you full (satiety) and you end up wanting and eating more.
Drink half your weight in ounces of water every day. So, if you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 ounces of water every day. Water-based foods, such as fresh fruits and veggies, count towards your water consumption.
3. If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. One gram of alcohol provides 7 calories. Only fat (9 cal/g) provides more calories than alcohol. So, when you are planning your food and drink consumption, don't forget the calories from alcohol.
When you take a drink of alcohol, your body converts a small amount of it into fat and the rest is converted (by the liver) into a substance called acetate. This acetate is then quickly released into the bloodstream and used as the body's main source of energy.
So, your body is using the acetate for energy instead of the stored fat in your body. The more you drink, the more fat your body will store (many times belly fat)!
Added to this problem is the fact that alcohol consumption can increase your appetite.
4. You know how you don’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach? The same rule applies to holiday eating parties. Empty stomachs want to devour food. You could eat fruit, veggies or nuts before going to the picnic.
5. Don’t enjoy your picnics and parties too much. Eat one serving of food on a plate. Avoid grazing (unless its at the vegetable/fruit tray). Eating haphazardly will put tons of calories in your belly. Enjoy one serving of a dessert.
Bonus: What about your workouts for the long holiday? I can't leave that out.......
I recommend you work out at least every other day. Thirty-minute bodyweight cardio sessions work well because you get the dual benefits of strength and cardio in one workout.