The time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day has to be the hardest few weeks to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle or any diet for that matter. We are constantly tempted by sweets, treats and just way to much food in general. I would like to share a few tips with you that have helped me in the past to stay on track between now and the end of the year.
1) Make sure you eat before you go to any holiday gathering. You know you will be tempted by all sorts of unhealthy but yummy foods. Make sure you don’t go overboard by eating something that is good for you before you go. Try to make sure you are not hungry when you arrive, or you will be much more tempted to overeat as well.
2) Drink some water before you go and alternate higher calorie drinks like alcoholic beverages, eggnog or hot chocolate with water while you are at the holiday party. Drinks can have a lot of hidden calories in them, so watch out. Diet sodas are another good option.
3) Fill your plate with some “good ” foods first. Pick some raw vegetables, but go easy on the dip. Turkey breast, and lean ham or pork roast are other good choices. Don’t forget a nice plate of salad with a low fat dressing and some fresh fruit for dessert.
4) Don’t cut your favorite holiday treats completely out. If you don’t allow yourself the occasional small indulgence, you will be much more likely to break down and binge on all those cookies and treats. The key is to enjoy small portions or bites of your favorite foods. If you have a soft side for chocolate chip cookies then go ahead and indulge, but limit yourself to one a day or every few days. Of course the same applies if you prefer cheesecake or gingerbread men.
Eat several small meals a day. This old tip holds especially true during the holiday season. We tend to skip meals and indulge in one large holiday dinner with the entire family. Don’t starve yourself all day. Get some snacks in and most importantly start your day with a good, healthy breakfast. You will be able to enjoy your holiday more by stabilizing your blood sugar. You don’t want to spend the day being grumpy from not eating for hours, or be the first ready for a nap after overeating.
5) Use the busy shopping season and burn some extra calories. If you are heading to the mall, park a little further away, or take your time and do a round of window shopping all through the mall before you buy. Every few extra steps that you take count. Just don’t reward yourself afterwards with food. For extra motivation to get more walking in, consider wearing a pedometer. See http://www.walkingofftheweight.com for more information on walking and using a pedometer.
6) Take some time to relax. The holidays can be a very stressful season if we let them. Many of us (including myself) tend to overeat or medicate ourselves with food when we are stressed. Work in some extra time just for you. Sit in front of the fire with a good book or your favorite magazine, go get your nails done, take a bath or go for a walk. Do whatever works for you to calm you down and help you de-stress.
Above all, enjoy the holidays and remember they are not only about food, but more importantly about family spending quality time together. Treat yourself to some new holiday candles, listen to your favorite Christmas tunes, or go for a drive through a lit up neighborhood this year. Have fun during this special time of the year and enjoy that occasional cookie.