From Thanksgiving to the New Year, there are tons of family meals, work functions and festive parties. It is so easy to overindulge with food & drinks, and to slip out of our healthy habits. I am here to help you, and give you tips on how to survive the holidays without battling the bulge!
1. How do we not put on the average of 8-10 pounds during the Halloween to Valentine’s day period that average American’s deal with?
Everyone has a New Year’s resolution of losing the 20 pounds they just put on, but the easiest way to lose them, is to not even gain them in the first place!
People often think that if they’re not overindulging in every meal in the holiday season, they’re depriving themselves, but really, it just comes down to discipline.
You can enjoy yourself, and probably even more so, when you avoid overeating this festive season.
2. So, what are some simple steps we can take?
a. Intermittent fast in the morning. Upon waking, wait 2-3 hours before you have a meal, especially when you know you’re going to be indulging in big family meals later in the day.
b. Get active in the morning. Make sure to get outside and do some form of movement. For example, take a walk or a jog for 30 minutes outside, in the sunlight. This will prepare your body to deal with more food.
c. Eat until you are 80% full. Serve up slightly smaller amounts than you would normally and eat slowly. This way you will feel fuller sooner, and you’re less likely to overeat.
d. Bring your own healthy side dish. If you’re attending an event, offer to bring over a dish that is low in calories and light, so that you have the option of a healthier side. Such as a salad or some lightly roasted green vegetable and you can fill your plate with these and not feel like you’ve eaten too much.
e. Choose low-calorie beverages, like unflavored sodas with lime and a clear liquor, and avoid sauces. Often, the most calories come from sauces and drinks that are packed with sugars! They also cause you to eat more and not feel as full!
f. Go for a post-prandial (eating a meal) walk. Studies have shown that even a 10-minute walk after eating a meal can help regulate blood sugar levels significantly. This will help you digest your food properly and expend some of the energy as opposed to storing it all straight away! Over-indulging at dinner and going straight to bed is the worst thing you can do – get the whole family up and take that walk!
g. Keep snacks out of reach so you don’t spend hours reaching for them and eating them, be it nuts, M&M’s, Chex Mix, etc. If you want some some…have some. But leave it to one handful and not grazing for hours.
3.Holidays are packed tight, right?
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Superbowl, Bowl Games, Valentines, etc. before you know it the winter can have you feeling bloated and tired. What’s more you can feel high and low with emotions of relatives, coworkers, financial stress, food, travel, presents, harsh weather, end of year deadlines, and more.
4. It all comes down to mindset, right?
Exactly. We need to have purpose and intent. The holidays are a time to celebrate life, friends, and family. To give gifts. The greatest gifts are these though. Life. Friendship. Relationships. So, take care of your body, feel better, happier, and healthier. Thrive with life so you can be a better friend and enjoy the friendship given. Abusing your body with alcohol, sweets, fried foods, not exercising, stressful driving and bills, etc. is not the path to a better and happier life. Live with intent and you will live a greater life!
a. Be flexible and select key moments where you ALLOW yourself to enjoy a meal you would not normally have. Enjoy it, guilt free and move on.
b. Be mindful and be grateful for what you are having in that moment.
c. Focus on the people you are with, not the food. Engage, connect and appreciate your friends and family
Summary: Trying to diet and lose weight during the holiday season is a rookie mistake. But letting loose completely and gaining a couple pounds isn’t a good idea either. People are often far on one side of the spectrum. You can be in the middle! Let go of the constraints and enjoy all the social events but keep a hint of discipline along the way by following your healthy eating habits for much of the time. You will feel both mentally and physically better by the time the spring rolls around and certainly feel less overwhelmed with New Year’s resolutions.