Here, in the U.S., July 4th – Independence Day – is rapidly approaching. Along with the time off and fireworks displays, this particular national holiday is typically characterized by another of the nation’s favorite pastimes: eating mass quantities of grilled meats. Beer is generally also involved.
And, let’s be clear: this one day of indulgence probably won’t lead to any lasting weight gain or completely ruin any progress you’ve made in getting your body ready for summer. Some people, however, might be left with a since of guilt and failure after overeating on the 4th. Others might just feel plain gross the next day. Still more individuals might find that that one day of dietary freedom was enough to derail them from the good habits they’ve been working on.
If you fall into any of the above-noted camps, you may find it best to exercise some self-restraint on the 4th of July. Here a 3 useful tips to help you avoid overeating and regretting it later.
- Drink plenty of water. Several studies have found that drinking about 16oz of water before each meal reduced the amount of calories that people subsequently ate. In the most recent trial on the subject, two groups were put on the same calorie-restricted diet for three months. So, either way, they were going to lose weight. But one group had to follow this pre-meal water protocol while the other did not. At the end of the study, the water group lost an average of 4.5 pounds more than the control group. Come this July 4th, though, the concern is self-control not necessarily weight loss so how does water fit in? A slightly older study, conducted in 2008, reported that individuals who drank water before their meals ate 13 percent fewer calories than those who did not. The water, then, will fill you up with a calorie-free substance and help to dampen your appetite. And no: beer doesn’t count.
- Eat high-protein meals earlier in the day. Before the festivities actually begin, you can control your appetite by sticking to foods that will leave you feeling satisfied longer. High-protein diets have demonstrated this ability in several studies by increasing your body’s sensitivity to leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. Protein supplements or meal replacements – such as Gnarly Whey or Gnarly Feast – are a convenient way to get fast, quality doses of protein, plus some water.
- Slow down. Feelings of hunger and fullness are the result of communication from your stomach to your brain via hormones. These messages take a little while to make the trip, though. Eating too quickly can fill you up before you even realize it. Slow down, then, and savor your food to give your brain time to fully process just how hungry you actually are. Along the same lines, stick to small portions rather than piling your plate high on the first go. Drink some water, eat a little and see how you feel after a few minutes.