Wishing you and your family lots of good health, tons of happiness and plenty of cheer!
I love the holidays! I love the sights and the smells. I love the hope and celebrations. But most of all I love the anticipation. All of this love and anticipation can wreak havoc on our will power. My sense of nostalgia for Christmas past can drive bad habits right into my stomach. To maintain control of my health, I find I must approach the holidays with a plan for success. Start with a plan. The person who coined the phrase “failing to plan is planning to fail” must have surely been referring to a holiday gathering. Going to a party hungry with no strategy leaves you vulnerable to temptation. Here you will find ten strategies for loving the holidays while staying focused.
- Bring a healthy dish yourself if the party is a potluck or carry-in then bring a healthy recipe that you love. Consider fresh fruit kabobs or roasted vegetables.
- Drink plenty of water. By drinking plenty of water, you will not be as inclined to binge. Water has zero calories and functions as an appetite suppressant.
- Try to avoid finger foods. I choose to eat foods that require utensils intentionality because this forces me to eat intentionally and slowly.
- Try to make your calories count. If you love pumpkin pie, then definitely eat a piece but restrain from drinking alcohol or eating another dessert. Savor your choice of pumpkin pie by intentionally limiting your other options
- Make time to workout. Even if you cannot make it to the gym, try to get some exercise each day. Take a walk during your lunch break or Google quick workouts that you can do throughout the day. Even if it is only five minutes here and five minutes there, make the commitment that you are going to make this a priority, especially during the holidays.
- Another way to avoid unnecessary calories is to identify calorie-dense foods and avoid those. It is easy to eat a staggering amount of food without realizing it while socializing. Understanding a few nutritional facts will be very beneficial. Calorie dense foods are those with high quantities of fat and sugar. Therefore, fill yourself up with fresh foods that are high in dietary fiber such as fruits, vegetables, and beans. Avoid anything with heavy cream, roasted nuts, and fried foods.
- Creamy dips should be avoided or eaten with moderation. Creamy dips are super calorie dense and an excellent way to passively consume a large number of calories. Cheese balls and crackers are full of fat and carbohydrates, making them add calories but not filling you up.
- Admittedly, this is difficult for me. I am a very fast eater. Take your time, and enjoy your food. Chew slowly and take deep breaths. Eating with deliberate intention helps you eat less and feel less stress.
- Alcohol is full of calories, so substitute adult drinks for water. You can also rotate between water and alcoholic beverages to keep you hydrated and reduce your caloric intake.
- Use a small plate. This simple visual trick will help you eat less. Unfortunately, this will only work if you have different sized plates from which to select. Keep in mind. Choosing a small plate is forcing you to be mindful of portion control. If there is only one plate option? Eat a variety but choose small portions and make sure that the majority of your plate is devoted to delicious fruits and vegetables.
It is possible to enjoy the holidays while keeping your health and fitness goals. The holidays are full of magical moments and delicious food. Do not deny yourself all of your favorites. Follow these simple steps you can embrace the holiday fun and feel good about the choices you are making. These ten strategies are not a diet. Instead, this is an acknowledgment that temptation is highest during the holiday season. Go to the party! Have fun! Celebrate, but go with a plan for success and the perspective that health and wellness can coexist with holiday traditions.