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May 30, 2016

Mindful Mondays: Five ways to enjoy your holiday

Celebrate without feeling guilty on Tuesday

Mindful Mondays Wellness
Mindful_Mondays_Memorial_Day_01 Azurita /for PhillyVoice

Try dressing up your bun-less burger or chicken with hot mustard, pickles, sliced tomato, raw onion, and pretty much whatever fixings are available to make it more like a burger salad, yet still delicious.

It is a widespread misconception that people think they have to do EVERY, SINGLE, THING right in order to stay in good shape and in good health. The truth is that there is time for “cheating” on holidays, but as with anything, be mindful of what you are putting in your body and remember, everything is OK in moderation. With that in mind, here are my five tips to enjoying yourself over the holiday weekend without abandoning your health and fitness goals entirely. 

1) Stick with Salad & Grilled Veggies as Sides

If you are grilling at home, pop some fresh vegetables on the grill to fill you up as a great side dish. If you are going to someone else’s house, bring them! A little olive oil, salt and pepper on the grill or stove top is all you need to enjoy crispy veggies like asparagus, carrots and/or sweet potatoes cut in the shape of fries. You will be able to sit in front of a hot basket of them and munch away guilt free. Eat these to your heart’s content in lieu of traditional sides found at cookouts. And please, dear god, stay away from mayonnaise based salads, like certain pasta, potato, and dare I say, coleslaw.

2) Skip the Bun

Sorry, I’m a bread girl too but I’d rather be a no-bun girl than a girl with pudgy buns, if you know what I mean. I dress up my bun-less burger or chicken with hot mustard, pickles, sliced tomato, raw onion, and pretty much whatever fixings they have to make it more like a burger salad. It is so satisfying, yet guilt-free. If you have a choice, opt for the chicken or turkey burger (I try to limit red meat and think of it more as a special treat). If you are feeling adventurous, you can even try using two giant portabella mushrooms in place of your “bun.” Or, if you are vegetarian, the portabella can be your actual “burger”.  Avoid too much ketchup, because although it is delicious, it is unnecessary sugar, and it all counts.

3) Be Careful What You Drink

If you are someone who enjoys a drink on a holiday, it is not realistic to simply abstain from alcohol over Memorial Day weekend. Instead of setting swearing it off entirely, set certain boundaries. 

My hard rule for alcohol when I am trying to watch my weight is, “No Beer” (Sigh). Instead, if I am out at dinner, I’ll enjoy a glass of good red wine (I tend to drink red wine more slowly). If I go out to a party or to a bar, I’ll have what I call a “Vodka Light”. I coined the term, essentially it's code for mostly water or club with a splash of vodka and tons of lemon (because I do not tend to drink them slowly). In all seriousness, no matter what you drink, if you drink equal ounces of water to alcohol throughout the night, you will be way ahead of the game in the morning. And if you are a soda drinker, the same mindset applies. Treat yourself in moderation, for example, simply have ONE and then offset with equal ounces of water.

4) Do Something Active

It feels so good to do something active on your day off, and will also make you feel less guilty as you inevitably agonize over your post-holiday weekend choices. Even if it seems too ambitious to go to the gym on a holiday (I won’t be going) do something fun that doesn’t involve eating or drinking. How about a nice long bike ride or a coastal walk down the beach? Have a good old-fashioned catch with your kids, or assemble a giant family kickball game. Just do what makes you feel good … corn hole anyone?

5) Get to Bed at a Decent Hour

There is no worse feeling than rolling out of bed from a holiday weekend, exhausted, bloated and miserable. Put yourself in a position to start the week in a good way. It will be a short 4-day week for most of us, so focus on the positive. My college roommate taught me a “Sunday Rule,” meaning that she plans to be in her house from 4pm on every Sunday, no exceptions, to prepare for the week ahead and get in bed at a reasonable time. (Same theory goes for Monday nights after a long weekend) In your mind, plan that you want to be home and getting ready for bed by a certain time, maybe 8 p.m., and really stick to it. Take that time to look at your schedule for the week, get a jump on emails, plan a healthy breakfast, get a solid eight hours and keep that water flowing, rehydrating all night, setting yourself up for a great (short) week ahead!

Each week, on Mindful Mondays, Christie shares three tips toward a healthier lifestyle. She proposes something healthy to think about, something healthy to eat, and something healthy to do. Give these tips a try to improve your health, wellness and quality of life!

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