Enjoy the Holidays while looking and feeling great
Ah- the holidays! That special time at the end of the year where your calendar may be bursting with opportunities to eat and drink outside of your regular routine. It’s possible you’ll likely find yourself somewhere where you have no control over what is served — a party, an event or a friend’s house.
If it’s inevitable that you’ll be going to at least a few soirees this holiday season starting with Thanksgiving tomorrow then going into these occasions with a few pointers can make the morning after feel like more of a victory than thinking “what have I done?!”.
Here are a handful of tips to approach social gatherings and the holiday season in general to enjoy friends, family and food!
1. Eat Breakfast
Skipping breakfast and not eating in order to “save your appetite” may lead to over-eating later on. Starting out the day with a glass of water and a reasonability sized breakfast with something that has lean protein, a complex carbohydrate, and some fats will keep you fuller longer.
2. Keep active
Even if your holiday season is hectic, keep your fitness routine a priority. A good workout isn’t limited to a gym or the track. It's easy to use your bodyweight in your living room to work up a sweat. Breaking a little sweat, going for a walk or getting your steps in early in the day can carry momentum and help you make smarter choices in the day ahead. You'll feel reassured and accomplished that you did something productive and good for your overall well-being.
3. Arrive satisfied
Arriving satisfied, rather than famished, will allow you to make rational, decisions when faced with tempting appetizers. You don’t wanna face plant into the 9 layer dip when you walk into the door.
4. Take a lap
When you arrive to a party scope out the scene and take inventory of the goods. Take a moment to scan the spread of party food so you know exactly what you have to choose from. You don't want to start in on the mini quiches when you later find out there is baked brie in the other room! Take a lap and and ask yourself "what do I have to have!?"
5. Choose the season
The holiday season only comes around once a year and so do seasonal goodies like grandmas homemade truffles. Instead of spending calories on foods that you can have at any time of the year, pick items that are truly special and unique to the season and savor the yumminess of each bite.
6. Make conscious indulgences
If you know you’re hands down a dessert person and you know you won’t be able to pass up on the pie (MMMM pie) be more mindful earlier to skip on the bread and butter to enjoy a bigger slice of pie later on. You can also choose to have fat-free whipped cream because you really can’t notice the difference (at least in my opinion).
7. See your plate and be picky
Instead of piling your plate a mile high with things that don’t really tantalize your taste buds you can start small and pick the foods that you really want to have. If you do end up not liking something on your plate - you don't have to eat it all, sometimes all it takes is a few bites. If you don't love it, don't eat it. Be conscious of what you put into your body, because ultimately it will affect how you are feeling.
8. Drink a lot...
of water…. to keep you hydrated. So often, we think we are hungry, when we really are just thirsty. Since avoiding alcoholic beverages altogether may be hard during this time of merriment if you do decide you want to enjoy some holiday beverages keep in mind that it is very easy to dent your daily caloric intake without actually eating food. You can choose to alternate your dranks between spritzers, zero calorie drinks or sparking water.
9. Don’t fork to mouth it too hard
Eat slowly and savor every bite, and before you go back for seconds wait to see if you really are still hungry.
10. Chill out
This is not the time to totally ban your favorite holiday treats. There really is no need to demonize certain foods punish ourselves for indulgences we choose. Instead, positive messages like “I can control my eating” or “I’m proud that I ate responsibly today” will help you remain positive. One day or one meal won't wreck your diet but you have to go into it with the right mindset and not "the diet starts January 1st"...
11. Too much of a good thing
From a caloric standpoint – yes, you can gain weight even if you only eat “healthy”. Just because you stuck with veggie trays, green bean casserole, nuts and creamy asparagus soup doesn’t mean you aren’t eating a ton of calories. Make sure you're not eating something based solely on its health-food aura but instead being selective, practicing moderation and portion control.
12. Walk it out
Whether it be a literal walk around the block or trying to impress your family with your dance moves from that one rap song “AYEEEE NOW WALK IT OUT”. Make sure you get in some form of physical activity post a huge meal. This is a great time to catch up with family members while getting some fresh air.
If you are a fellow flexible dieter and macro-tracker the you know that this way of eating is wonderful in helping find us balance between "goals" and "memories over macros” (within moderation). Although fitness and health should be priorities, your happiness is, too. In fact, they all go hand-in-hand. To be healthy, you need to physically maintain yourself, but also fulfill your soul.