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Happy Independence Day!

Now let's celebrate!

Oh wait! If you're anything like me, you have a history of dreading cookouts and parties because you'll give in to temptation and go hog wild or you'll just be miserable the whole time while you watch everyone else enjoying themselves, eating and drinking whatever they want. Whatever your fear, I've got you covered. I've been there and overcome that! Now let me share some secrets I've learned along the way...

1. You must always remember your WORTH. You're only worthy of the best quality food, so you nourish yourself by making the best choices for your body and overall well-being.

2. You have a BIG purpose to serve! How are you going to serve God and others well if you don't feel well, lack energy, and feel like your body is holding you back from being your best self?

3. You have to go into the party with the right mindset. You are not restricted to what you can eat; you can have anything you want. But because you understand your worth and purpose, you CHOOSE not to eat just anything. You frame your food choices with "I don't" or "I choose" instead of "I can't."

-Before the party keep making affirmative statements to yourself: I honor God with my choices.

I only eat foods that enhance my health. I eat real food that gives me energy.

I honor my body, the temple of the Most High God. I know what I want and what I'm here for. I have a higher purpose that requires my well-being.

I love the way my skin glows when I eat vegetables!

-At the party, ask yourself these questions: How will this food serve me? (Will it help or harm me? Will it improve my health or worsen it?) Is it worthy of me? How will I feel after I eat it (30 minutes, tomorrow)?

4. You shouldn't go hungry. We all know that most parties aren't loaded with healthy options and if you're hungry, you're more likely to eat the first thing that appeals to you, whether good for you or not. -It's a good idea to eat a protein and fat-packed snack ahead of time that you know is good for you and maybe just munch on some fruit, veggies, or nuts at the party. The fat and protein will help you feel satisfied before you even get there. -Fill up on water before you go and keep sipping on carbonated water during the party. It will help you to feel full. -Why not take a healthy dish or two yourself so you can eat with everyone?

5. You need the confidence to make the best food choices for yourself. If you're certain you're going to eat at the party, then be selective and only eat foods like veggies, fruits, nuts, hummus (w/ veggies), salsa with very few chips, and meats. Try to avoid processed/packaged food like sweets, candies, breads, crackers, chips, dips, pastas, fried foods, and sugary or alcoholic beverages. -This confidence can be shared with others who might seem nosy about your choices by stating, "I'm trying to take better care of myself." Remember, you're not on a diet; it's a lifestyle, made one choice at a time!

6. You should ENJOY what you eat. Whatever you choose to eat, eat mindfully and savor every bite! You're less likely to overeat if you slow down and enjoy the food.

The bottom line is to control what you can and don't stress about the rest! Some of us don't think about it at all then wonder how we gained so much weight, got sick, or feel so bad. On the other extreme, some of us aren't capable of enjoying anything because of the stress we take on around food. I understand. That's why I wrote a book about it and want to provide you with the tools to navigate these tricky situations. Another great resource you might find useful is my Roadmap to Conquering Emotional Eating. Here's a video interview of me talking about Emotional Eating and a blog post with all the details.

Now what to take to that party! Here are a few ideas for you... Click on recipe names to access recipe links. Quinoa Confetti Salad Chilled Summer Gazpacho Cool As a Cucumber Mint Salad Sweet & Hearty Salsa Leah's Loaded Granola Squares

Happy Independence Day to you U.S. Americans!

In Love & Service,

Coach Leah


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