SARASOTA, Fla. -- Labor Day for many means throwing caution to the wind when it comes to your diet. But that one day can lead to poor eating habits that may impact your health.
The end of summer, white shoes and for many -- watching their waistline. Labor Day brings friends and family together for a day of culinary excess that may trigger a cycle of bad eating habits.
“Barbequing, everybody always gets together and have a barbeque,” says Sarasota resident Kimberlie MacDonald. “Oh, there's going to be BBQ ribs, there's corn, salad, there's coleslaw, macaroni salad, probably desserts like brownies, cookies…beer.”
The Suncoast realtor and mother of two says they started early with their first BBQ and will probably have another in the afternoon. “And then again the dessert thing. We don't eat desserts here every day, but we sure do on holidays.”
College student Rob MacDonald Davies says he feels like Labor Day really starts off the fall BBQ season. “With Labor Day comes football games and such, you get to really eat a lot of traditional tailgating foods like burgers and ribs, and a lot of dips and things like that.”
And a string of holidays filled with fattening food follows Labor Day, including Halloween and Thanksgiving. “We happen to have birthdays in December, we have Christmas, we have New Years, we have birthdays in January…so it kind of starts a five month pattern of celebrating.”
But does this one day trigger a seasonal pattern of overeating and a viscous cycle of trying to recuperate? “I think it does for most people. And I think you realize that you've eaten so much on the weekend, you try to starve yourself during the week but it's hard to say no to all those yummy things that are in front of you that you wouldn’t normally have.”
Even 18-year-old Rob knows when he's over indulged. “Definitely with BBQ's and such, you definitely feel it more the next day with a lot of heavy eating.”
Youth, fitness and health are on his side. “Probably it takes ‘til the middle of the week to really start feeling back to normal.”
But it may take longer for many to undo the caloric damage and cycle of overeating that begins at the beginning of September.
Chances are, you're not going to skip the end of summer BBQ at the family cookout.
But if you want to keep your diet on track, slow down. Pay attention to your first few bites, savor the flavors of the food.
The journal Appetite finds those who eat slower are half as likely to go for seconds or later snacks, and enjoyed their food more than fast eaters.