I’ve seen a lot of tips from other fitness influencers on how to eat “healthy” over 4th of July, so I thought I’d offer mine.

Enjoy your food. That’s it.

Your body doesn’t run on a 24-hour food clock that began this morning and starts over tomorrow, so eating more today isn’t going cause you to gain 50 pounds over the next year. Food is meant to be for our enjoyment, and this is a holiday to be ENJOYED with family and friends. Did you know that studies show us relationships, positive social interactions, and belonging are as important to our health as much as exercising, not smoking or drinking too much alcohol, and probably more important than dieting? Too many people spend holidays and social gatherings worrying about how many calories they’re eating instead of being in the moment.

Pasta salad made by my friend Mary!

Cucumber and onions by my friend Angie!

Here’s what happens when you spend social gatherings trying to be “healthy.” See if one of these resonates with you.

When you try to be “good” and you mess up, by eating things you had placed off limits, you tend to say “screw it” and just go crazy. Then you feel guilty. And you’re no longer enjoying the moment.

You may say “I never get to have this so I’m going to eat as much as I want.” And you overindulge, and you feel bad. And you’re no longer enjoying the moment.

You verbally tell people you can’t eat this or that food because you’re trying to be “good,” so you hold yourself accountable to not eating it.  But you really want that food, so you spend the whole time thinking about it. And you’re not enjoying the moment. Let’s just get this out there- that is super annoying to other people around you trying to enjoy that food. It makes them feel like they’re being “bad.” It belittles the person who spent time making that dish. If you’re avoiding certain foods, just keep it to yourself.

Instead, what if you decided to enjoy the food and subsequently enjoy the moment. What if there were ten desserts, and instead of saying “I can’t have any of that” you eat one. And enjoy it. And maybe have a second one. You don’t do this every day. You didn’t eat all 10. Get your dessert and move on.

Chose fresh fruit not because you’re trying to be “good,” but because it’s in season and delicious right now. Savor it.

Taste the pasta dish and forget about carbs for a day. I promise you won’t throw off your metabolism doing this for one day whether it’s today, Thanksgiving, Christmas, your birthday, or any other holiday.

You may think by letting go of boundaries and rules, you will just go crazy. But for most people, if you let go of the rules and eat for enjoyment, your body will tell you when you’re full and you stop. When there’s no guilt, there’s no reason to overindulge because you’re not placing a value on that food.

Happy 4th my friends, enjoy today celebrating our Independence with food, fun, and fireworks!