Halloween is over, which means in no time at all turkeys will be on the table and then Christmas trees and Menorahs will adorn houses. And with each of these holidays comes a crap ton of food: Mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, matzoh balls, latkes, cookies, pies, cakes, candies, candies and more candies. So if you managed to avoid the post Halloween candy binge, just get ready for the barrage of not-so-good-for-you food that is headed your way.
And while I totally believe in little indulgences here and there, a three month long binge is not what I would consider a “little indulgence.”
So what are some ways you can enjoy the holidays and still win the battle of the bulge? Here are my time tested techniques for keeping the pounds off while the presents are coming in:
- Don’t buy junk- The best way to avoid eating junk is not exposing yourself to it in the first place. I know those pumpkin spice cakeballs are calling your name at the grocery store, but JUST DON’T. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry, bring a list and stick to it. Better yet, use a service like Peapod and order your groceries online so you can avoid temptation all together.
- Bring a healthy dish- Ok, so you can’t avoid junk all together. After all, there is a world out there and if you go to an office job or have any social engagements, chances are you will be exposed to Mary-from-accounting’s chocolate rum balls and Cathy-down-the-block’s sugar bombs. Its up to you to be the change you want to see in the world. YOU offer to bring the fruit bowl or the vegetable platter so that at least there are SOME healthy options. The guests might not rave about it like they will about Mary’s rum balls, but their waistlines will thank you.
- Plan to Exercise daily- Exercise is a keystone habit, which means just by exercising, you are more likely to engage in other healthy behaviors like eating healthier, smoking less, etc. People make the mistake of skipping exercise during the holidays because they feel like they are too busy, when in reality, if you manage to get your exercise in you will be more efficient and productive with the rest of your day. I recommend planning to exercise everyday, rather than scheduling in a rest day, because things come up and chances are you will end up having to skip a day or two anyway.
- Don’t go to a party starving- Hangry people make bad food choices. There are lots of bad food choices available at parties. Don’t let yourself get hangry right before a party. Have a high protein snack before you go like half a turkey sandwich, grilled chicken salad, or greek yogurt and berries. This will help you combat hunger and resist temptation.
- Avoid All or Nothing mindset- It’s easy to beat yourself up over making a bad choice or two and then to let that bad choice turn into a day-long or even month-long binge. One slice of cheesecake won’t undo all your progress, but if you feel defeated and decide to make it a “bad-eating” day, week or month just because you messed up once, it can. Instead, if you make a mistake, try to get right back on the saddle. Forgive yourself and then make the next meal a healthy one.
- Take Small Indulgences- Take a few bites of your favorites: Your aunt Edna’s Pecan Pie, Grandpa Ralph’s famous meatloaf, Your mom’s triple butter mashed potatoes. Take a small serving to satisfy your craving and then fill up on healthier fair.
- Hydrate- We often misinterpret thirst as hunger, and this is amplified when its cold outside since we tend to drink less anyway. Before you eat, have a tall glass of water. This will help curb the sensation of hunger that is actually generated by thirst.
- Plan Ahead- Know what indulgences you will make and what you won’t before you go to a party. For example, maybe you will have a small slice of pie because you really love pies, but skip the cookies. Maybe you will stick to just one plate full of food and resist going back for seconds or thirds. Make a plan and commit to sticking to it.
- Skip Alcohol- Alcohol has more calories per gram than protein and fat. The body also has trouble processing the calories from alcohol as fuel since it is a toxin, so calories from alcohol are more likely to be stored as fat. In addition, the calories we drink don’t have as much of an affect on satiety as the calories we eat do. So that cocktail with the same amount of calories as that piece of fudge won’t satisfy your hunger as well. If you must imbibe, have one glass and stick to water for the rest of the night.
Do you have trouble keeping your weight down during the holidays? What tips have helped you stay slim?
For a more specific plan that meets your needs, work with me!