Another holiday is upon us! For those of us in the United States, it is our national birthday, the 4th of July. When a holiday comes upon us we enjoy it and we do the best we can to find ways to celebrate. We celebrate with our friends or family, we go to others houses to watch the fireworks and we eat lots of unhealthy food.
Food is an important aspect in how we look and feel. Food makes a difference in our health and our wellbeing. There is no question that food is the fuel that makes our bodies work and run. As I’ve discussed before, type of calories that you put into your body, matter. They matter because your body will run better and more efficiently on good calories than it will on junk food type of calories. More nutrients will be added to your body and help boost your immune system, give you the proper nutrients to function properly and give you the building blocks for strong healthy bodies.
While these things are all very important aspects of food, it is more than just calories. It is more than the necessary nutrients for our bodies. It is more than building blocks. Food also plays important parts in so many other aspects. Let’s take just a moment to examine them.
When you spend time with friends and loved ones, many times it is over food. That food is sometimes unhealthy especially on holidays. Food therefore, is a form of socializing. It is a place were friends and loved ones discuss plans, goals, accomplishments, memories and so much more. Food is the medium that allows you to spend hours conversing with each other and enjoying each other’s company. Who doesn’t enjoy a good meal with great company. It becomes the foundation of some of our experiences.
Food is also comfortable. People have their favorite foods, foods that bring up memories of childhood or of other places that they have lived. Food is regional and where you live dictates how you eat many times. I grew up in an Italian home and as such I prefer Italian food to any else. I love pastas and olives and many other Italian items. These are things that I grew accustomed to and love to enjoy because of my upbringing. We all have those favorites from our childhood or places we might have lived. They become a part of us.
At holidays and other get togethers there are often things that are sweet. One of the courses for the meal will be a form or even multiple forms of dessert. It’s all but expected. If a meal at a party, holiday or other special event didn’t include a dessert, people would wonder why it hadn’t.
None of these things listed above are bad. In fact, these are all good things. Food is more than just nutrients. This brings us to the question; how do we deal with a holiday or spending time with loved ones when we are trying to eat healthy?
There are a few things you can do. First you can eat healthy when you are spending time with those close to you while celebrating. You can pick and choose the good foods to eat making sure you get your nutrients. You can choose the good fats, avoid the sugar and focus on eating healthy even as you are partaking and participating with the crowd of people you have surrounded yourself with. You can politely refuse some of the offers and just remain quiet about what choices you are making.
Another option involves more exercise. You plan for the holiday and decide what you are going to do to expend additional calories. Sure, the calories you consume will not be the healthiest but you will be able to eat more of what you want and you will make up for the poor caloric intake with good healthy caloric intake on the days surrounding the holiday.
There is a third way. You eat healthy for most of the time in your pursuit of excellence. You are focused on eating well in general so you bring your prepared lunches to work, you eat healthy breakfasts and you avoid processed sugars on a regular basis. On special occasions you choose to not worry about what you are eating. You enjoy it with your friends, you eat your treats you have been craving or looking forward to and you live your life to the fullest.
None of these ways is better than another. They are just options to how you can deal with holidays and the inevitable eating of junk or unhealthy foods. What is important to remember however is to dismiss any feelings of guilt. The holidays, any holidays, should not make you feel guilty. Holidays are for enjoying time with others who are important to you not for feeling guilty in your choices. Make the right choices on a regular basis and enjoy times with others on important and special occasions. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.
Happy Fourth of July, Strive to Arrive!