This would probably be a good post to do around Christmas time, so maybe I'll repost then, but I know that July 4th is this weekend so I thought it would be a good time to tell you how I approach things.
I think the key to every holidays can be phrased with this sentence:
Deep breaths, in and out.
I'm kidding, but holidays give people more anxiety with their diets than anyone could ever imagine. I sometimes think that people would be better off just saying "Sorry guys, I'm not going to partake at all because I'm going to be a mental head case by Monday." I watch it happen every holiday and it's honestly sad but I've been there and wanted to share how I deal with this.
1. Obviously you can opt out of food.
I think this is a no fun option, however I think that we fear to be "that person" but you know what, YOU DO YOU BOO BOO! If you have goals set for yourself and you really just don't want to break them, then stick with your plan.
2. Bring your own food.
You could opt out of food entirely or just kinda opt out of the food that is provided at said cookout. You could bring your own 93% lean burger patty, and play it off as "I didn't want you to have to pay for my food" type thing. Factor in chips and bun and BOOM! To be honest, this is probably what I would do but that's only because with my family, we always just bring our own proteins so it wouldn't even be weird. But, I know that might be weird.
3. Just eat the meal.
One meal is not going to hurt you. I think that far too many times, we get in this mindset of restriction or gorge, and that's just NOT how it should be. Eat your normal food for the day, go into the meal hungry but not starving, eat until you are full, and stop. This takes practice. You are going to have to CONSCIOUSLY think about this if you aren't the type that can do this naturally. If you are drinking, then you are going to have to be even more aware. Don't let it slip up on you, and be mature enough to know your limitations. *tough love* Don't let it turn into an all night affair of food glory just because you had to go a little bit off. I know this feeling all too well from previous days of "well now everything's screwed so SCREW IT!" That is the worst mindset to have, and will only leave you feeling defeated even more the next day.
4. Once you do eat the meal, don't freak out about the meal
Think about all the times that you've overate. Can you remember each one? Probably not. Are those cheat meals still affecting you today? No. The beauty of it is that our bodies are super fluid and when you have one of these slipups, you return to baseline and it's like it didn't even happen come that next week. The more stressed that you get about the situation, the more you are just gathering even more hormones into your body of freak out mode that just make it even harder to return to baseline. So, practice really releasing things out of your brain. I don't know how to teach this, but it's a learned art. If I'm scared about a run, I don't think about it. I just do the run. If I'm scared about a test, then I just don't think about but I do the studying. The same applies here. Just don't think about it, and continue with your healthy lifestyle the next day.
5. Don't overanalyze it.
Here's the harsh truth is that the only person that cares is you. No one is thinking about your diet. No one is thinking about your weight. No one is thinking about the anxiety but you. They are probably thinking about their own anxiety. So, step outside of your box for a second and remember the truly important things in life that are not the food. Enjoy the people in your life. THOSE are the moments that you can't get back.
And maybe you think this entire thing is bogus because you don't have to cope with these issues, but as a coach, I know that many many do.
With love and holidays,