Woohoo! Merry Christmas! Xmas shopping done, presents under the tree, time to relax & let the festivities begin! And that means goodies galore, dig in! You deserve it, right? I said give yourself permission to relax & enjoy each activity making this a stress-free, guilt-free holiday season….so maybe we should think about this. Just when you’re finally getting your weight under control, boom! It’s the holidays & food is everywhere!!! From the office to the parties to the huge family events, it seems as if the holiday season is one long, tempting food fest designed to make you gain weight. Americans put on half of our annual weight gain between Thanksgiving & New Years. Rather than accepting the inevitable holiday 5-10, remember it’s the year to reshape old holiday traditions to more positive, productive, healthier ways. Here are a few tips to assist you in sticking with your fitness goals & shedding that winter coat before before you even get a chance to put it on. So here’s to a healthy holiday for those that want to stay on track. With a little planning, you’ll have even more to celebrate this new year!
1. My first advice is give yourself permission to enjoy yourself & celebrate each miraculous moment of the holidays! That means all the yummy treats too. First of all, counting each & every calorie is never fun, especially during a time that is meant to be celebrated. It is only one day & one day will not ruin your progress if you are indeed motivated to stick with your fitness routine & healthy lifestyle. Also, eating whatever you want should make you feel icky so I’m sure you’ll be in the gym the next day:) I know this is not advice for everyone & that some will have to be more cautious of what & how they eat during the holidays. Over indulging is 1 unhealthy & 2 unnecessary.
2. Nibble on food throughout the day. If you graze & snack on a little all day, you will not build up that chance to be overly hungry. Instead of eating one GIGANTIC meal which generally concludes with an unbuttoning of the top of the pants, try having 2 or 3 smaller meals throughout the day. This little trick has transformed my urges to indulge. Also, eating small snacks/meals throughout the day is more beneficial for your metabolism overall.
3. Eat your fruits & veggies first. If you are at a party with a lot of tempting food, try to start with healthy vegetables & salads. These will fill you up & reduce the temptation to over-indulge on high-fat, high-calorie foods. We just had our annual all girl Xmas party. Oh the display of cheese, wine, cookies, brownies, more cheese & crackers. Somehow I managed to fill up on the grapes, carrots, celery, cranberries, & almonds….& then dove into a few slices of cheese & pumpkin pie. My tummy wasn’t in pain & still, I was able to enjoy the taste sensations of everything!
2 or 3 hours before the sit-down dinner, snack on some fruit, celery sticks, or any other lower calorie foods. When it is dinner time, you will not be incredibly hungry. For the main meal, eat even more vegetables with it. On a calorie basis, eat larger serving of veggies rather than starchy carbs like potatoes, rice, stuffing, or bread with your turkey. Surprisingly, it will satiate you just the same.
4. If you are cautious about calories yet still want to enjoy all that the Christmas feast has to offer, then skip the gravy, fatty dressings & high-calorie condiments. If the turkey is too dry without some type of sauce, use fat-free basalmic or even a dijon mustard. I have eliminated most sauces & dressings at restaraunts (anything can taste good with loads of butter, oil & lard, but realllly?) Most times the dressings & condiments are worse culprits than the foods you put them on.
5. Drink a lot of water throughout the day. This will help with hunger throughout the day. Water is also a great appetite suppressant. If you stay hydrated, your body will not confuse dehydration with hunger & you will not find yourself starving. Also, if you want to shave some calories off your daily total, skip the soda or juice & instead have coffee, water, vitamin water, or coconut water. These options have lower to NO calories &/or sugar than juice or regular soda.
6. Get outside and be active. It’s refreshing to just relax & embrace the not do anything family time, but sitting around the house all day watching T.V., smelling the food cooking will keep me salivating & my stomach growling. Take a pre-dinner walk with the family or the dog. Go to the park, watch the kids play ball. If you are really motivated, go for a jog/run before dinner or later in the evening. Being active will not only help burn off more calories than sitting in front of the tube, it will also keep you from being in “eating” mode from the kitchen aromas. The more active you are outside, the more energy you’ll have. Getting fresh air will oxygenate your brain & energize your body.
7. Have a smaller dessert. Don’t skip dessert, just moderate it. Have a smaller sliver of pie & indulge in a larger serving of Fat-Free Cool Whip or other non- dairy topping. Ok fat-free topping can be like eating air, but air has a lot less calories than that huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on your pie. 😉
Again, my feeling is to enjoy yourself & eat a little of anything you want. If you are dedicated to being in shape, one day will not ruin your results. Although you may be more likely to pack on some pounds during this time of cold, rainy weather & bountiful food, the holidays are not a time to feel deprived. They are meant to be happy times with friends and family. It is a special occasion which you do not do all the time, so just have fun & eat a LITTLE of everything & anything you want. Bottomline, it’s all about balance. Life is meant to be enjoyed!
A HEALTHY HOLIDAY IS A HAPPY HOLIDAY! LOVE, PEACE & BLESSINGS TO ALL!