It’s the most wonderful time of the year… (but sometimes not for your health or waistline!). The holidays are such a great time—filled with friends, family, and usually, food. Having strategies in place over the holidays can make decrease some of that post-holiday guilt. It’s a busy time of year, but with some forethought and planning, you can stay on track while still enjoy an occasional indulgence!
Here are some strategies that you might find helpful:
- Bring your own food to a holiday party or eat beforehand.
- If you eat beforehand, even a smaller meal, you won’t be as tempted by the treats at the party.
- You can bring thing like a veggie tray, hummus, shrimp ring, guacamole—get creative!
- If you like to bake, switch up your ingredients.
- You can use different kinds of flour, such as almond, coconut, spelt, etc. You can switch your sugar for stevia or maple syrup. And of course, use real butter!
- Don’t be tempted by the dreaded food court when you’re shopping!
- Eat before you go to the mall. Period!
- If you don’t have time to eat a meal, Google to find a healthy grab-and-go restaurant nearby (you can also check out our website for restaurants that have Simply For Life Approved menus).
- Have some snacks on hand—protein bars and nuts are easy things to grab and go.
- Easy on the booze.
- Try drinking kombucha or sparkling water with lime or lemon instead of wine – if you don’t want to drink.
- If you do, moderation! Also, try to have a glass of water between alcoholic beverages.
- Choose beverages wisely. Alcohol is high in calories. Liquors, sweet wines, and sweet mixed drinks contain 150-450 calories per glass. Go for a clear spirit, like vodka with tonic, or tequila. Otherwise, a wine that has a 0 sugar rating (wines are rated by how much sugar is in them – the lower the better).
- Try to avoid those tempting office treats.
- Have some snacks at your desk for when these days happen! Nuts are a great option to keep at your desk.
- You can also have a dark chocolate bar on hand so that you don’t feel too deprived – ensure that it’s 70% or more, though.
- Ying and yang – keep it all in balance.
- There’s no question that you should indulge a bit over the holidays.
- When you do, try to do something healthy beforehand: eat a piece of fruit, walk around the office for five minutes or go for a walk outside, climb a few flights of stairs, play with the kids, etc.
- Try, as much as you can, to Keep your routine.
- Don’t stop your exercise or food prep routine.
- Even if you do a quick 20-minute workout a couple of times a week, you’ll feel better that you are staying active.
Other important tips and things to keep in mind:
- Focus on weight management vs. weight loss during the holidays. Maintain, don’t gain—that’s the motto for the holidays.
- Don’t approach the holidays planning to diet after the New Year–thinking to yourself, “I’ll diet as soon as the New Year starts” often leads to greater holiday indulgence because you’ll be anticipating food restriction come the New Year, and thus you’d better eat the “good stuff” while you can.
- Fact: People DO NOT gain 5 or more pounds over the holidays. The average person actually gains about 1lb. from mid-November through mid-January. Expecting to gain 5 plus pounds over the holidays sets the stage for rationalized eating and dismissed weight gain.
- You can have your favorite holiday foods, but just eat smaller portions of them.
Overall, enjoy your holidays and maintain perspective! Overeating one day won’t make or break your eating plan. You won’t gain weight from one day of overeating. If you overindulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you. Return to your usual plan the next day without guilt or despair.