The Holiday Season has officially started with the conclusion of Halloween. The leaves are changing, the Christmas decorations are starting to appear, and the invitations to Holiday gatherings are being received. Even though this is such a joyous time of year for most, it can also be quite challenging for your health habits and waistline, so check out some easy to implement tips I shared with Circle Seven Five at a Nutrition + Yoga event recently on how to stay trim and slim over the Holidays.
80/20 Rule: Allow yourself to enjoy indulging every now and then. Life would be so unfulfilling without doing so! When you eat in a balanced, healthy way 80% of the time, you don’t have to feel guilty when you do indulge the other 20%. Savor that piece of pie, mac & cheese, or extra glass of wine & then get right back on track!
Preparation is KEY: When you know you are going into a situation that could possibly lead to bad nutritional choices, do some preparation beforehand. If it’s at a restaurant, skim the menu & pick out a dish that you know will be the healthiest option & make a pact with yourself to order it. If you are going to a party, offer to bring a healthy dish that you know you will eat. My go-to is always a big salad! You can also eat a healthy snack beforehand so you won’t be starving when you are tempted with all those holiday dishes!
Be Assertive: Just because someone offers you a drink or dessert, don’t feel obligated to take it. I know you don’t want to seem rude, but your own health goals are important, so I give you the permission to be high maintenance!
Get Creative with Healthy Recipes: I recently hosted a Halloween party & loved the challenge of creating appetizers that were not only yummy, but healthy. My guests loved them & couldn’t believe how good the healthier versions tasted! Pinterest & many bloggers out there have so many healthy alternatives to our favorite holiday comfort foods, so do some research or check out my blog for some of my favorite dishes!
Be Present: We are often doing 80 different things at once when we are eating a meal. Try to slow down & really be mindful & aware of what you are putting into your body each & every time you eat. This is especially true when we are at holiday gatherings & tempted with those calorie-laden dishes!
Fill Your Plate with Veggies: Veggies are a great source of fiber, which provide that feeling of fullness or satiation. I like to think of veggies as my main dish, with everything else being a side dish.
Be The Last in Line: When going through a Holiday Buffet, the first few people get to see the dishes in their perfect, appetizing state. If you go last, the food loses some of that beauty & appeal, so some of those dishes might not seem quite as appetizing.
Don’t Wear Spandex: Let’s be honest – when you wear a sexy, form-fitted outfit, you don’t want a full-bellied pooch after eating too much at the buffet table! It’s one, sure-fire way to avoid over-indulging!
Use a Smaller Plate: A salad plate or even a large napkin is the perfect way to keep your portion sizes smaller.
Moderation, Moderation, Moderation: The holiday pounds don’t come on because you had a couple of bites of dessert, they come on when you overindulge. When you do decide to eat something that you know is not the best for you, think moderation! It takes about 500 extra calories per day (or 3500 per week) to gain one pound, so consider that when making choices!
Be Careful of Beverages: Alcohol can inhibit our decision-making skills (in more ways than one!) & make us feel hungrier. Plus those holiday-inspired cocktails can have hidden calories, so go easy on the egg nog! (Which has around 340+ calories per cup)
Stay Hydrated: Often times our minds think we are hungrier than we are because we are dehydrated. Make sure to drink an ample amount of cold, filtered water throughout the day as it can boost your metabolism by up to 30%! Add in some fresh-squeezed lemon – it slows digestion!
Bring Mints, Gum, or Your Toothbrush: Whenever I know I am full or shouldn’t eat anymore, I pop in a piece of gum or go brush my teeth to help prevent me from revisiting the buffet.
Be a Helpful Guest: Offer to help do dishes or serve drinks at a holiday party, that way you aren’t as easily distracted by a second trip to the buffet.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself: Sometimes when we veer off track, we give up! We say “Screw it! I’ve already had two cookies, what’s four more!” Don’t allow yourself to get into that mindset. We aren’t perfect – but when we do mess up, we have to accept it & start over. If you happen to overindulge, allow your next day to be lighter & cleaner & just remind yourself how great you feel & look when you do eat right!
No Crash Diets: If you’ve had a few days of poor food choices, don’t think a crash diet will counteract your decisions. When you starve your body of the food & nutrients it needs to function, it will start to slow down your metabolism & hold onto whatever it has (including fat!), so it’s best to maintain your normal, clean-eating & exercise regimen as soon as you can to get back on track.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Bottom line – if it’s not in your house you’re not going to eat it! I know it’s hard when friends give cookies, chocolate, or candy as gifts, but it’s better to enjoy a few bites & then share it with co-workers or neighbors. Share the love!
Plan Time for Exercise: No matter how busy you get, stay committed to your exercise regimen! It will not only help you maintain your weight, but it will help alleviate the added stress that can happen over the holidays. If you overindulged the day before, try to add in an extra 30 minutes of work the next day to compensate.
Stay Well Rested: Studies have shown that a bad night’s sleep = cravings for bad foods! Our bodies are trying to supplement the lack of sleep with added energy in the form of calorie-rich foods.
Take a Probiotic & Digestive Enzymes: Take a Probiotic before going to bed to help with digestion, elimination, gut health, & immunity! A Plant-based Digestive Enzyme is also a great supplement to take whenever you eat a heavy meal or foods you don’t normally eat.
Take the Focus off Food: I know the Holidays are a time to celebrate friends & family, but try to find different ways to enjoy time together that doesn’t center on meal time. Make wreaths, go on a tour of decorated homes, do a Holiday 5k, decorate the Christmas tree or make homemade ornaments, sing Christmas Carols, go to a holiday movie, literally the list is endless – just think outside the box.