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5 Ways to Stay On Your Health Goals During the Holiday Weekend

Grill-outs, beach days, parades—these all sound fun to your family, but to you, they sound like a stressful day on your diet. How will you nutritionally navigate through all the junk foods, beer, and sugary treats on display during the upcoming holiday weekend?

If you’re starting to stress out about Memorial Day, that may be a sign of a pothole in your health strategy—one that could sabotage your health journey altogether. Below, I’ll help you address this issue, and share 5 practical tips to help you have a healthy and happy holiday weekend. 

Will a 3-Day Holiday Make or Break You?

Healthy, long-lasting weight loss and fitness is all about creating balance in your life. Our diets need to be flexible enough that they allow us to keep on living life fully! Your health journey should never turn into a battle between dieting and delighting in life.

When we become so focused on our weight loss goals that a 3-day weekend scares us, it’s time to take a deep breath, step back, and make some mental adjustments. If this is your struggle, write this motto down and bring it with you on vacation:

One meal, one day, or even one weekend will not knock me off my health path. 

You don’t want to throw in the towel on your health journey just because of some days off track. I’m sure you know from past experience that ignoring your health, even for a short time, can leave you feeling bloated and sluggish. So what’s the solution? 

On holiday weekends, shift your focus from weight-loss to well-being. When you grab for a snack, don’t ask yourself “do these chips put me over my calorie limit for today?” Ask “will these chips give me energy to be present for my day with the family or with it leave me feeling crummy?”

If you want to feel your best this weekend, shift your mindset from weight loss to well-being, and stick with these five practical tips. 

1. Prioritize Protein Every Day

Protein is your best macro friend on long weekends. It’s the key macronutrient that helps your body metabolize fat. It fills you up, and it keeps you full for a long time. Plus, when you eat protein at the top of a meal, it keeps your blood sugar and insulin—the #1 fat-storing hormone—from spiking after the meal.

Put your body in a healthier place during the holiday with these three protein practices:

  1. If you plan to have an evening out, boost your protein throughout the day so that it doesn’t have to be a stressing factor of your meal while out.
  2. Whatever else ends up on your plate, make sure there’s 4-6 oz. of a protein source. 
  3. Eat the protein first—before you touch that pasta salad, fill your belly with at least half of your serving of protein.

2. Bank Your Carbs and Fats

Holiday foods are full of carbs and fats. The Memorial Day menu features potato salad, grilled corn, fruit salads, cookies, mac-and-cheese, and big burger buns. With a little forward-thinking, though, you can maintain balanced macronutrients throughout the day. 

Protein needs to be eaten in increments. But carbs and fats are the two macronutrients you can hold off on and spend later. By banking your carbs and fats throughout the day, you’ll have much more freedom to eat the foods you want to enjoy later on rather than denying yourself of them. Here’s how: 

  1. Have a high-protein, low-carb, and low-fat breakfast, like low-fat Greek yogurt with berries.
  2. Stick with these goals for lunch too—think a big salad with chicken and a light dressing.
  3. When snacking throughout the day, skip the high-fat, high-carb foods and go for the high-protein ones—pick carrots and hummus over avocado toast today. 

3. Hydrate Like You Mean It

Fat-burning requires good hydration. Without water, our bodies struggle to metabolize fat. Dehydration also increases hunger and revs up unhealthy cravings. So stay hydrated the whole weekend with these simple steps: 

  1. Drink 24 oz of water first thing in the morning, before coffee or breakfast. 
  2. If drinking water slips your mind, set an hourly timer and drink at least one cup of water at each alarm.
  3. Bring a lot of water with you, and make sure you’re drinking at least a glass of water per alcoholic drink.

4. Don’t Be Paralyzed by Calorie Counting 

Calorie counting can become your ball and chain, especially during the holidays. Don’t stress about going over your calories for a few days. When your lifestyle is healthy, a few days away from your nutrition app won’t matter. Try out these tips so you don’t become crippled with calorie-counting. 

  1. Listen to your hunger sensations and follow their lead throughout the weekend.
  2. Have healthy snacks you love on hand for those times when nutritional, filling food is nowhere to be found.
  3. If calories are really concerning you, bank them like you did with your carbs and fats—eat lower calorie meals throughout the day so that you have more wiggle room for the grill-out. 

5. Give Yourself Grace

I saved the most important tip for last. Our lives revolve around weekends, holidays, events, and vacations for a reason! Breaks from work and routine provide a chance to bond with loved ones and experience new and exciting activities. These times shouldn’t be obstacles but opportunities! 

Holiday weekends don’t have to compete with your health goals. You can have the best of both worlds, and live what I like to call a “health-full” life. Try it this weekend:

  1. Shoot for progress, not perfection—try out the 80/20 rule if you haven’t already.
  2. Focus on the next step you can take for your health rather than making up for the “bad” decision you made in the past—don’t go for a guilt-trip run to burn off the ice cream cone you had with your kids last night.
  3. Immediately return to your healthy routine after a long weekend or holiday so that you can get back on track ASAP. 

Ditch the Deprivation Diet, and Play the Long Game

This holiday weekend, prioritize protein, bank your carbs and fats, and drink lots of water. Don’t stress out about going over your calorie limit in the upcoming days, and give yourself lots of grace. 

We both know that we want to look back on this weekend and see ourselves laughing and enjoying time with friends and family. You’re worth more than your waistline! 

Hungry for more freeing and effective health tips? Hop on my weekly newsletter, or sign up for the upcoming LEAN program today! It’s time to leave those deprivation diets behind and start living a health-full life!

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