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Three facts about me that some of you may not know…1) I’m super excited to spend 4th of July in a new beach town and watch the local parade (I hope it’s as good as Kailua’s!), 2) I love really good food and really good wine (especially champagne), 3) one of the top priorities in my life is being healthy and helping others to do the same.  During holidays and big celebrations, it’s easy to forget about #3.  But I’m kind of stubborn and like to take on a challenge.  I believe that celebrating, enjoying your friends and family, finding joy in food and being physically healthy can all have equal spots in a well-rounded life.  Here are some tricks that help me achieve that and stay healthy during any holiday celebration!

1) Make it worth it
About two years ago I realized that I like a $25 bottle of wine more than a $10 bottle. Not good for the pocketbook. I couldn’t go out to dinner and get two glasses of the good stuff…but I COULD get one glass of the good wine for the same cost of two glasses of the cheaper. A funny thing happened – I appreciated it more, savored it, took my time. I actually have ended up drinking less over that time, but love it more. Wine just happens to be my thing – what’s yours?  Apple Pie?  Apply the same rule – splurge on one amazing piece and call it quits.  Your taste buds will be satisfied and your craving will be gone.  If you are going to splurge, do it with something really good and worth it.

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2) Exercise
Exercise is not a choice in my life. I don’t wake up and say “am I going to exercise today?” I say “what am I going to do for exercise today?”  That’s not because I always love it – it’s because I have made it a priority.  Write exercise into your calendar like you would any other important appointment and don’t break it.  Don’t schedule something over it.  On holidays, I usually get up early and exercise right away.  I know that, once “holiday mode” and celebrations hit, I won’t ever get to it.  I feel so much better celebrating when I know I’ve burned a few calories that morning!

3) Incorporate activity into the celebrations
4th of July is usually one of the busiest days in the towns we’ve lived in.  There are local parades and fireworks, and tourists drive from all over to spend the day.  Our goal was to never get in the car on 4th of July, because we would most likely be stuck in traffic all day.  The solution?  Bikes!  It’s a great way to stay active and spend the day in the holiday atmosphere.  Maybe you can organize a family walk or flag football game or pool party.  Find a way to move during the celebration!

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4) Portion control
When I taste something really good (my mom’s homemade grilled pizza with pesto or those pesky Foodland doughnut holes) I have to stop myself from overeating.  My senses want more because it tastes and smells so good, but my brain has to take over and call it quits.  If I don’t stop, then I feel stuffed and guilty and wish I hadn’t had it, which ruins the whole experience!  My strategies to stop eating when simple will power isn’t enough: gum, putting my plate in the sink or trash, offering my last bites to someone else, or just walking away from the food table.  Usually by the time you come back all the good food is gone so the decision is made for you :).

5) Say no to dessert
If dessert is truly worth it to you (refer back to #1), then plan your meal around it. Eat less or have a small salad, then share dessert. Take calories away somewhere else during the day to make room for the dessert. Don’t eat it because you think it’s the natural progression after dinner (it’s not) – eat it because you actually love it.

7) Wake up and do it all over again…
If you stay consistent with all the tips above, then you don’t have to feel guilty when you have a big night out or eat dessert at the family BBQ!  Your body is accustomed to being healthy and will bounce back faster.

Have a fabulous, healthy and safe holiday!

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