You know what? I’m so over Holiday Weight Gain. Every year we all go into crazy-stress mode and all rules go out the door for healthy eating. Cookies for lunch? Sure! Gorging on cocktails and appies at parties? Of course!
No more. This year, let’s take back our holidays and our waist lines. It’s really not that hard. You only need to do two things to keep yourself slim this season. Here they are:
1. Be Present At Parties: Often times holiday gatherings are full of nervous energy. Maybe you don’t know all the people and chit-chat isn’t your forte or maybe you do know everyone and they aren’t your forte. Either way, we tend to arrive places and this giddiness sends us either straight for the bar or the buffet or both! Did you know that when you’re stressed your body can’t digest properly? Stress hormones signal your brain to switch into fight or flight mode so your body starts hanging on for survival, especially to extra calories. So, when you arrive, set yourself up for success:
- Eat before you go. If you’re not hungry, you’re less likely to binge on the entire buffet
- Take a moment when you get there to breathe and remind yourself the party isn’t about the food. Mix and mingle a bit before you dive in. This will help make smarter (smaller) choices.
- If you do head for the buffet and bar, keep your portions small enough to taste but not to fill. Unless it’s a sit down meal, the food is mostly for show. If there is something you love, skip everything else and really just enjoy what you know is awesome. If there are many things you love, take a bite of each. No more.
2. Be Present at Home: We tend to go into auto-mode around this season as we’re in constant motion with baking, shopping, wrapping, addressing and licking envelopes along with our regular day to day routines. The problem with that is that in auto-mode, we often forget how to behave. Suddenly, reaching for a handful of chocolate chips counts as lunch and breakfast is coffee with party leftovers on the side. Remind yourself that Christmas is one day and Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, while 7 and 8 are not a festivals of food for the entire time. Continue making your breakfast, lunch and dinners as you do all year and if you’re pressed for time, you usually know that you will be so plan head with quick salads or reheated leftovers instead of relying on party food or the mall food court for nourishment.
- Keep healthy snacks like nuts, dried fruit or granola in hand-bags and cars for late-night travel or shopping.
- Incorporate as many vegetables into your daily diet as always. They are not only healthy, but filling as well so you won’t be as tempted by sweets.
- Sit down one evening soon and look at your month. Then plug meals into those days so you’re not caught off guard and hungry right outside the Auntie Anne’s.
- Keep stuff out of the house. Even if you need extra sugar and carmel for that special dish your making, you don’t need extra-extra of those items that might tempt you to nip at them all month. Buy what you need-no more.
The key to Holiday Weight Loss (yes, loss) is to remember the Day part of holiday, not view them as a month worth of days wherein you can eat whatever the heck you choose without consequence. Because, there will be consequence.
Remember, if you’re on track for most of the month, then when you do get to enjoy some of Pat’s toffee, Hank’s cocktails or Ellen’s famous Rum Soaked Fruit cake, you can really enjoy them-guilt free. Then the calories don’t really count!
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