It’s that time of year again. Holiday feasts. Holiday parties. Holiday cookie trays. It seems like an endless parade of food at every turn. What is a StrongGirl to do? Should we just give in and pack on those 5 pounds of Holiday weight?
Nope! You can survive the Holidays without weight gain. I have 8 helpful tips to keep you from rolling yourself into the New Year in a bigger pair of pants, all while allowing you to enjoy all of the festivities and goodies the Holidays have to offer.
- PRIORITIZE GOOD NUTRITIONThe Holidays are only 5 days, plus a party or two. They aren’t 45 days. Make sure you focus on eating minimally processed foods that are loaded with nutrition every day. That means eat your vegetables, fruits, lean meats, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc. These foods will fill you up and keep your body working well.
- HAVE A PLANWhen you go out to all of those celebrations, make sure you have a plan of how much you will eat and drink – and stick to it. Try not to go into these events thinking it will be a sugary, fatty, alcohol-laden free for all. Search out the healthier options and add those to your plate, along with a little of the sugary and fatty foods.
- DON’T FAST BEFORE THE CELEBRATIONSI used to be guilty of this as a teenager and 20-something. I wouldn’t eat all day before Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. My thought was that I was going to eat fattier foods at dinner, so why up my calories during the day. Save it all for the main course. All that does is give you the green light to overindulge. Next thing you know you are unbuttoning that top button while being rolled out the front door at the end of the night.Make sure you eat health meals thoughout the day. You’ll eat less at dinner, but still be able to enjoy all of the deliciousness at the dinners and parties.
- KEEP PORTION SIZES SMALLThere will be so much food to eat, it’s easy to overload your plate. Then you feel like you have to eat it all. Try to keep your portions sizes normal to small. I try a bit of everything at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I take normal size portions of the foods I really like and smaller portions of the foods that are just ok. By using this strategy, I get to try everything without feeling like that stuffed turkey.
- EAT SLOWLY AND ENJOYIt’s so easy for your brain to explode when you see all of that food. All you want to do is shovel it in. Whoa! Slow down. Take the time to chew each bite, savoring the taste and texture of each morsel. You’ll find that you may feel full before all of the food on your plate is gone (and no, you do not need to finish your entire plate). You may also find you’ve enjoyed the foods more when you take the time to taste them.Also, put your fork down between bites and talk to your family and friends. Remember, these celebrations aren’t really about the foods. They are about the people we share them with.
- DRINK YOUR WATERHolidays are celebrated with as much alcohol as food. It’s so easy to tie one on quickly. That will only lower your inhibitions and cause you to eat way more that you intended. Instead of downing drink after drink, try drinking one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. You may even be thankful the next morning when you avoided that hangover.
- KEEP MOVINGIt’s easy to skip those workouts from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. It is a busy time of year. We’re all out shopping, going to office parties, and going to our kid’s school concerts and plays. Who has the time to workout?Yup, you do. Ditch the idea that you have to do a one hour gym lifting sesh. Get up a little earlier than normal and do 3 – 5 exercises before you shower. Maybe go for a walk at lunch. Workouts that are small will do just as well as those longer lifting sessions for the time being. They keep you moving forward and feeling good.
- DON’T GET DOWN ON YOURSELF IF YOU OVERINDULGESo you went overboard at that office party. You drank a bit too much and ate too many goodies. Now you feel like crap and a failure.Don’t worry about it. You’re not a failure. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back to that good nutrition. You don’t have to throw in the towel for the entire Holiday season because of one night, or one day of eating too many cookies. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a human who ate some cookies. Get back to eating those nutritious meals and try to stick to your plan next time.
If you can follow even one of these tips this Holiday season, that’s great! That is one step closer to learning how to eat healthier, while still enjoying the treats of the season.