Planning to Grill and Chill? Here’s a plan…

The holidays are different, right? You get a day off work. You’re exposed to a whole bunch of different foods. And so you allow yourself a little leeway. It’s special. It’s a holiday.

True enough. And if relaxing your usual meal plan for the perfect margarita or once-in-a-lifetime meyer lemon bars is no big deal for you, enjoy it and get right back on track.

But for some, a detour from the routine is a gateway drug. It can lead to feeling bad about yourself. It can lead to falling off the wellness wagon for longer stretches of time. Which can get in the way of your goals. And hamper your self-esteem. And make you feel bad about yourself. And suddenly a lemon bar is hardly worthwhile given the spiral it started.

We’ve all been there. So why not get ahead of the issue? Go into the Fourth of July holiday with a plan. Here’s ours:

1. Make food predictions. Envision what the lineup of foods might be at your holiday gathering. And make a plan for where you want your indulgence to be. For example, if you’re a sweets person, you can decide you’re going to have one lemon bar but stick to grilled chicken and veggies and skip the cheeseburgers. Preparing for what you’ll be faced with will help you be more in control.

2. Do some form of exercise. Don’t take a complete holiday from your workout. Try to think of fitness as a right and a privilege rather than a penalty. And if you’re away from the studio and your usual routine, at least aim to stay in the pattern of working out in some way. Volunteer to take a toddler off someone’s hands and borrow her jogging stroller. Just having a nod to fitness rather than a full day off is often enough to make sure that you pick up right where you left off when you return.

3. Keep it social. You don’t have to run off to a gym solo while everyone else is hanging out. Grab a relative for a speed walk. Prepare for a weekend away by purchasing a Skype workout in advance, and invite a family member to do it with you. Get in on anything active, from a tennis match to the teens’ basketball game.

4. Hit the hydration station. Often times our body signals hunger when in fact we’re thirsty. Being away from routines like the bottled water in the office fridge can mean forgetting to drink your H2O. Put a cute water bottle in your tote to help make sure the hydration stays on track.

5. Plot your return. Before you go away, make plans with a friend to meet you at the studio the day you come back. Sign up for a class together in advance. Your friend and your commitment will help make sure you’re accountable, and that even if you’ve gone (slightly) off the rails, you get right back in check.

So now you’ve got a plan. And if you can stick to it, reward yourself! This stuff is hard. Splurge on organic raspberries, or better yet: a massage. We’re also ok if you tell yourself those fireworks were just for you.

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