Holidays can bring out the best in us all. It’s a time where we are off from work (hopefully) and we get to surround ourselves with our friends, family, and loved ones. We get to relax, laugh, and unwind from our normal daily grind. It’s also a time where we are tempted to consume just about everything in sight. After all, calories don’t count on holidays, right? Wrong.
I can’t tell you how many people get in the habit of binging on everything during a holiday. They feel as if it’s a free day to completely throw all of their hard work and dedication to the curb and eat anything and everything they want because “it’s just one day.” That “one day” for many generally drags out several more, unfortunately. In an effort to keep you from crying in the corner after hopping on the scale following a holiday, I’ve put together some Labor Day nutrition tips that can help keep you on track with your progress and helps you from completely derailing your progress.
If you follow the tips below, you will put yourself in a position where you can enjoy your holiday, have some treats you normally would consider “off limits,” but not feel like you have to roll yourself out of bed the next morning and put on sweatpants due to weight gain and bloating.
1. Don’t skip your workout
The first of our Labor Day nutrition tips is to not skip out on your workout. Your gym might be closing early for the holiday but the last thing you want to do is get out of your routine. Keep yourself accountable and get to the gym in the morning and crush your workout and work up a good sweat. That will set the tone for the day and burn off hundreds (or more) of calories right off the bat.
If your gym is closed the entire holiday, fit in an at-home workout using your own body weight or at a minimum go outside (assuming the weather is decent) and get in a good cardio session to get the heart pumping and the calories burning. Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you should start making excuses why you need to skip a workout. Skip just one and you might head down the path of skipping more because you’re out of your routine.
You’ll also notice if you get your workout out of the way early on, you’ll feel better throughout the day not only because of the endorphins but also because you feel a sense of accomplishment by already having your workout completed so you can focus on your time with family and friends.
2. Drink plenty of water
Water needs to be your best friend. Not only does your body and brain need it to function properly, but it is also a fantastic way to trick your body into thinking you are full. On top of the health and satiety reasons, it will also help you manage your “other liquid” consumption that we will touch on shortly.
If you’re on a strict diet, you can actually trick your body into thinking you are full by drinking a glass of water before your meals. You can also drink water with your meals to continue to fill up your stomach which can send a signal to your brain that you’re full. This is one of the fantastic Labor Day nutrition tips I like to tell my clients heading into a holiday weekend.
If you want to take things a step further, have a water bottle in your hand at all times. Not only will this prevent you from potentially grabbing another plate of food, but it can also help deter you from grabbing another beverage that could be full of empty calories you don’t need.
3. Strategically plan your plate(s)
Think of a table full of food during a holiday like a battle. You need to strategically plan what you are going to eat so you have a game plan to win. Not having a plan in place can cause you to consume way more than you wanted to and once you finish off all of your plates, there’s no reversing time and eliminating those calories you consumed (unless you fit in another workout).
This strategy for your Labor Day nutrition tips can allow you to treat yourself to what many would consider “unhealthy options” such as desserts. If you plan ahead, fill your plate up with lean protein sources, healthy fats, and fibrous carbohydrates so you can “have your cake and eat it too” without regret. Now, I’m not saying to grab the dessert and a fork and go to town. Have a little restraint. But, by simply planning ahead, you don’t have to be the only person at the table not enjoying a delicious dessert.
4. Limit alcoholic beverages
The last of our Labor Day nutrition tips is to limit how much alcohol you consume. I’m not the fun police but you know where I’m going with this and you also know what’s right and wrong. For starters, if you’re going to be drinking, do not plan on driving anywhere. Plan on either staying where you are or have a designated driver who can take you home.
Alcoholic beverages are full of empty calories – calories you don’t need and that serve no purpose nutritionally. Additionally, most people don’t keep track of how much they drink. One beer, for instance, turns into six before you know it or one glass of wine turns into nearly the whole bottle by the end of the party/gathering. It’s important to keep track of how much you drink and even consider going one-for-one with a glass of water. For each drink you consume, have a glass of water to follow. And if you are making mixed drinks, consider using a zero-calorie beverage (like a zero-calorie soda) along with your liquor. This will help keep the overall calorie count down.