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6 Tips for a Healthy 4th of July

 

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When we talk about the Habits of Health, we end up talking about cavemen a lot. So much of our modern day health challenges are tied to our biological programming, from how we move to the foods we crave to how we process stress. At the same time, we have to contend with deeply rooted cultural traditions that have been a part of humanity for centuries.

How do we celebrate a major life event? Eat and drink.

How do we celebrate an old friend coming to town? Eat and drink.

How do we celebrate a holiday? Eat and drink.

With the 4th of July right around the corner, many of us will be hopping from picnic to picnic to spend time with our family and friends. There will be big trays of sweets, and there will be big coolers full of alcohol. This is a temptation-rich environment you’re stepping into, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a fun and healthy holiday. If you plan ahead and use the right strategy, you can spend time with the people you love and stay on the path toward Optimal Wellbeing.

Here are some tips for making 4th of July a healthy holiday:

  1. Review your progress. Whether you started your journey to Optimal Wellbeing a week ago or three years ago, you have made an admirable amount of progress thus far. Don’t think about what you have to lose though. Yes, losing that progress would not be good, but the bigger motivation is that you have more to gain by staying true to your goals and Habits of Health.
  2. Make a plan. This isn’t your first 4th of July picnic. You know what temptations you are likely to face, so before you are trapped in the heat of the moment, lay out a plan for what choices you are going to make and how you are going to respond. What if someone offers you a beer? What if someone offers you a big plate of dessert? Answer these questions ahead of time!
  3. Designate a buddy. Help from others can make us stronger. Ask someone close to you to hold you accountable and to remind you of your goals if they see you struggling to make the healthy choice. Having an extra nudge from someone you love and respect can make the healthy choice that much easier.
  4. Eat beforehand. If you walk into a buffet line hungry, you might be making your challenges even more difficult. Instead, have some healthy food before you leave so that you don’t feel like you need to fill up on food to feel satisfied at the picnic.
  5. Drink water! It’s probably going to be a hot day, which means that you are even more likely than normal to confuse thirst signals for hunger signals. Keep a big glass of water handy, and refill it throughout the day to fight of cravings and to help you feel full.
  6. Find the vegetables. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the food options, eat your vegetables first. Most picnics have veggie trays, so as long as you aren’t dipping your greens in salad dressing you can snack along with your friends and family without filling up on unhealthy calories.

Making your holidays healthier can take practice, but the more you hone your Habits of Health the more you can treasure what really makes holidays special: the people you spend them with.

Happy 4th of July!

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