It's that time of year again...the "feeding frenzy" is upon us. It's by far the hardest time of year to stay healthy and fit. There are so many opportunities to overeat between Halloween and New Years Day that even the most disciplined among us have a hard time staying on track. We are inundated with "gifts" of food, parties of all types and family gatherings. Yes, it can be difficult, but we can do this if we change the way we think about eating during the holidays.
Many Americans automatically assume that they will be gorging themselves on fattening, high calories during November and December. They give up during those months and promise themselves they will get back on track after New Year's Day. The problem with this that the constant feeding frenzy can leave you 10-15 pounds heavier by year end and who wants to start the new year feeling fat, lethargic, and low energy?
The key to eating during the holidays is refusing to go along with the crowd during the season. You can enjoy the parties and family fun without jeopardizing your health. We just have to plan ahead and mindfully eat healthily 95% of the time. Nobody is going to gain a ton of weight eating one Thanksgiving Dinner and one Christmas dinner. Its all the days in between that sabotage us. Here are some great tips for staying on track during the holiday season.
Tips to Fight the Holiday Bulge
1. Bring a healthy dish to parties and gatherings and eat that. Odds are there will be a lot of people there that appreciate your fruit or veggie tray or that healthy soup. You may even try making healthy eating a group endeavor. Talk to the people in your office, group of friends or family. Odds are there are others who'd like some healthy options. Plan a healthy potluck or at least a healthy dish table so that those who want them have some options.
2. Don't waste your calories on alcohol and sweet drinks. Stick with flavored water, unsweetened tea or coffee.
3. Choose to indulge ONLY on things you really want. Lets face it, are those store bought cookies or cupcakes that they bring to the office really all that good? Save your indulgences for a small piece of your mom's homemade chocolate pie or Aunt Ruby's dressing. Eat only the things that you love or bring back memories.
4. Allow yourself one plate on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Don't fill it with anything that you don't absolutely love to eat. You don't have to eat a serving of everything just to be polite.
5. Exercise more through the holiday season. It will help you manage the stress of the holidays and will keep you burning those calories. You will be less likely to overeat if you're working hard in the gym.
6. Try intermittent fasting, especially after the major holidays. For instance, if you eat Thanksgiving dinner at 2 pm, try not to eat again until the next day. Give your body time to burn.
7. Eat a small meal before going to parties. We tend to binge when we are "starving" so its much easier to stick to healthy alternatives when we've already eaten.
8. Don't let people sabotage you. There are lots of food "pushers" out there who will try to force feed you, guilt you or ridicule you for trying to stay the course. Thank them politely and then tell them that for health reasons you have to steer clear of the junk food.
9. Do your meal prep. When you have something ready and waiting to be eaten, you are less likely to grab a cookie on the go.
10. Be thankful.. The holidays are all about gratitude and giving thanks. I can't think of anything more important to be grateful for than the gift of a healthy body. Keep this in mind as you move through the season and you'll be less likely to feel deprived and more apt to treat your health with respect.