A No-Regrets Holiday Season
Holiday celebrations are filled with tradition, memories, and a lot of delicious food! Many people worry about the potential for rich food, cold weather, and busy schedules to derail healthy lifestyle choices. It’s no surprise that the most popular New Year's resolution is losing weight.
However, the holiday season does not need to derail your efforts to be your healthy best. Consider these tips:
Choose well. There are no “good” and “bad” foods—only good and bad eating habits. Serving yourself a sensible portion of a favorite, not going back for seconds, and eating slowly and thoughtfully are some great ways to stay on track.
Eat regular meals. Choose meals that are balanced, provide a steady stream of energy, repair and restore your body, and help manage stress and prevent mood swings.
Take control. Before a holiday event, eat a snack or light meal. Include a source of protein to help you feel satisfied. Quick snacks include a small apple with peanut butter, hummus and carrot sticks, leftover cooked chicken, a hardboiled egg.
Serve small portions. The first bite or two always taste best. You’ll get just as much enjoyment and feel better if you avoid eating until you feel stuffed.
Eat slowly and mindfully. Savor each bite. Drink water between bites and put down your utensils.
After a meal, go for a walk to see holiday displays and spend time with others.
Be realistic but do set some goals for yourself. For example, “I will continue my workouts during the holiday season,” “I will eat smaller portions—even if I am eating a variety of holiday treats,” “I will take time to relax with family and friends,” “I will give myself permission to politely send my regrets to some party invitations to have time for myself.”
Don’t arrive at a party famished. Eat normally the day of your party. Plan on one “splurge” item for the party.
Offer to bring a low-calorie dish to holiday parties. That way you’re guaranteed at least one healthy dish.
Celebrate the natural reds and greens.Get into the holiday spirit by eating fruit and veggie dishes first to fill you up before trying some of the more decadent offerings.
Scan the desserts before deciding. Examine all of your options, then decide on the one you can’t live without and go for it—but just one serving.
Skip “seconds.” Eat once and put your plate away, then socialize out of reach of the buffet table.
Focus on non-food fun. Enjoy the good company and holiday cheer. Make a plan to speak to several people or introduce yourself to someone new and focus on the conversation.
Moderate alcohol. Drinking more lowers inhibitions. Keep it to a minimum to make better food choices.
Work out before you go. You’ll look wonderful in your outfit, you’ll have great energy, and you’ll have given yourself a little gift. Before you reach for a treat “just because,” it may help to think about how many burpees it will take to burn it off.