Holiday Weekend Diet Survival Tips
Holiday weekend diet survival tips
Here are some common problem areas that you might face on the weekends and my proposed solutions.
- Mindset. Your mindset going into the weekend can play a huge role in the outcome – whether you enjoy yourself or end up “beating yourself up” on Monday morning. Here are some “problem” mindsets and suggestions for how to change them:
– “All or nothing mentality”. Feeling like you have to be 100% strict and avoid all foods off your plan … but once you venture into forbidden territory, the floodgates have been opened. You figure you blew it so you might as well eat whatever you want for the rest of the weekend. This mentality sets us up for failure – in addition to making us feel downright miserable much of the time. Who wants to feel that you have to live up to unrealistic standards 100% of the time? We are all human and this is just not possible! Read my blog post 10 Tips to Avoid All or Nothing Thinking to get ideas on how to reframe these thoughts.
– “The weekend is all about food”. Think about the weekend as a time to do fun things, spend time with family or friends! It doesn’t have to be all about the food. Find other things to focus on.
– “I’m not allowed that”. Give yourself permission to eat some of the foods you really want. Eat slow, enjoy it and practice mindfulness! But on the other hand, know yourself. Bringing a pint of Ben and Jerry’s into your home because it’s July 4th may not be a good idea if ice cream is a trigger food for you!
-“It’s out of my control, so I’ll just go with what’s there”. While some weekend plans/situations may seem out of your control, you always do have at least some control. Plan ahead as best you can. See my tips below.
- Eating meals at irregular times. Weekend eating patterns tend to be more erratic than weekdays. Being on the go, skipping lunch, more snacking and going too long in between meals are common problems. I have many clients who’s significant other or friends can go for hours without eating. You get sucked into this and bam … low blood sugar, carb cravings, overeating at the next meal and being hangry!
-Make sure you have a good protein, fat and fiber source at the meals you do eat – especially breakfast or brunch. This will hold you for a longer period of time. For example, better choice for a breakfast on the run would be eggs and avocado on whole grain toast versus a jumbo bagel or muffin.
-Bring portable snacks with you like nuts, healthy jerky, fruit, little packs of peanut butter and whole grain crackers or an healthy energy bar. This can help to prevent low blood sugar.
-Be more assertive and tell your friends you need to stop to grab a quick bite.
- More time spent traveling in the car. This can mean too many gas station “car snacks”, eating from boredom and fast food chain pit stops. These food choices usually aren’t the healthiest!
-Many chain restaurants roadside have healthy options. Maybe it’s not wild salmon, quinoa and kale but you can find some decent choices! Most chain restaurants post the nutritional info online if you are curious.
-Or better yet, pack your own lunch and snacks (see above). Watch my video on Healthy Snacks on the Road
- The long weekend may mean multiple parties and no time to “recover” in between. One of my clients told me he was double booked with parties several days this holiday weekend. Kids parties from 4-7 pm then adult parties 8 pm onward.
-The trick here will to plan and pace yourself. If you know the food will be great at the second one, eat lightly at the first one!
– Try to fit in some down time into your weekend schedule. I know this is easier said then done. But it really can help.
- Too much booze. Parties, BBQ’s, getting together with friends often have a common denominator: alcohol. With the dehydration caused by the hot weather, the beers or vodka and lemonades can go down very quickly. Alcohol can increase your appetite and your intentions to eat healthy will fall by the wayside. The calories add up quickly too!
-Drink a lot of water. It helps prevent dehydration and gives you something else to drink besides alcohol or other high calorie beverage.
– Alternate water or club soda with the alcoholic drink
– Try a wine spritzer with lots of club soda
– Or better yet, a seltzer with a fruit twist (or ice cubes made with fruit in it!) is more festive than a glass of water
- Off of your usual exercise routine
First of all, it can be good to take a break from your usual exercise routine. But some people feel out of sorts when they’re off their routine, so let the healthy eating habits go too. But even if you can’t get to your usual Soul Cycle class, you can still be active!
– Schedule some family or friend time around an activity – like a hike or bike ride. Bring paddle boards to the beach.
-Engage in physical activity like frisbee, swimming, volleyball or take a walk on the beach. This will burn calories and get you away from the food and booze
- An abundance of food … temptation. Parties are all about food. And warm weather often means the parties last longer going from day into the evening. More eating and drinking time! A burger here, a hot dog 15 minutes later, then some ribs. A hour or so later, the steak goes on the grill, so why not have a little piece? And this is not even counting the side dishes.
– Don’t go to the party hungry. Have a little snack with some protein an hour or two before the party/BBQ
– Survey the options. Once you get to the party, take notice of what the food options are. Plan in your mind what you will eat instead of starting in on the food frenzy. You don’t have to taste everything that is served. Wait for what you really want – even if it’s something higher calories like potato salad. It’s better to have a smaller portion of something you really want than to load up on burgers, hot dogs and steak – without feeling satisfied
– Portion control. If you want a burger and a hot dog, take one without the bun. If you are watching your carbs, decide what’s most important to you – the bun on the burger or the pasta salad. Or maybe have 1/2 the bun and a very small portion of the pasta salad. Load up on more veggie dishes.
– Offer to bring a healthy dish like fruit salad, a green salad or a salad made with whole grains and veggies
- Social pressure. This can can be perceived or real. There are food (or booze) pushers out there but often times it’s on us. We feel like we are obligated to eat because someone made something special or others are having 2nd’s and 3rd’s and we want to fit in.
-Tell yourself just because there is aIt’s kind of expected you overeat at a BBQ or party. “What – only one burger?Have some steak, ribs and potato salad!” See my previous blog post on How to Protect Yourself from a Food Pusher.
- Don’t sit near the appetizers or snacks (i.e. cheese and crackers, chips and dip).
Solutions: Don’t even waste your calories on these! Wait for the good stuff. Place your chairs (or stand) far away from the food table.
- Plan ahead.
If possible, find out what will be served ahead of time. This can help you prepare mentally what you will eat in advance. If most of the food choices seem on the heavier side, offer to bring a green salad or sliced vegetables ready to be grilled (see below).
- Include healthy options if the party is at your house. Easy peezy if the BBQ’s is at your house. BBQ’s can be so healthy as the food can be cooked without fats and rich sauces. .
Apps: guacamole or hummus and veggies (or lentil chips for those who want more carbs)
Grill:Lean protein including fish, shellfish, skinless poultry, veggie burgers, and lean meat including
Grill: veggies (asparagus, corn on cob, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, portabella mushrooms)
Grill: fruit like peaches
Side dishes: green salad with lots of fresh veggies, a salad made with a whole grain like farro, barley or quinoa and veggies with a vinaigrette
Rainbow quinoa salad: Popsugar (see pic)
Corn, tomato and avocado salad: Popsugar
Mediterranean Bean Salad: Skinny Taste
Watermelon, feta and mint salad: Womanista
Arugula & strawberry salad: Foodnetwork.com
Grilled ratatouille salad: Foodnetwork
Edamame salad: FoodNetwork
Hearts of palm salad: FoodNetwork
Charred green beans: FoodNetwork
One more thing: Cooking meat at high temperatures is known to produce cancer-causing chemicals. At the start of the grilling season, experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) are warning about the hidden health hazards of cookouts and campfires, and suggesting how grilling can be made safer.
What are some of your favorite foods to serve at (or bring to) a BBQ or party?
I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.