How to Enjoy the Holidays Without Ruining Your Healthy Lifestyle
The holiday season, Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, is often packed with guilt-ridden yummy treats and large, delicious, holiday meals. To also include during this time of year; tight schedules, and a string of parties or gatherings that make keeping a regular diet routine and staying fit more challenging. With morning and afternoons spent eating, then watching television, followed by evenings of more eating, drinking, and television; many people tend to pack on extra weight faster than they can say, “That was good, I’ll have some more.”
The amount we eat during the fall holiday season has a proven track record that’s known to ruin the most committed person’s fitness and healthy eating routine. It’s also known to leave numerous people sluggish and unmotivated to restart a fitness or healthy eating routine once they’ve arrived on the other side of New Year’s Day. The struggle, and thought of having to work longer and harder to lose the weight again, becomes deep regret and is hampered by negative self-talk.
Right here and now…pause…take a deep breath in and hold it for three seconds…breathe out slowly…and smile.
Do not fret, this holiday season you can still have fun. You can make it from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day without ruining your commitment to healthy eating and fitness – and here’s how:
Have a few ground rules.
Make your ground rules for eating and exercise throughout the holiday season goals realistic.
A prepared mind means a person often wins at the end of the day. While most of us are opposed to denying ourselves “forbidden foods” during the holiday season, this holiday season you’re going to win because you’re going to enjoy and indulge it with a few general guidelines that you will create, commit to, and follow. For example, at parties, stand up, then step away from the food and table, and move around the room — it helps with your digestion and makes it harder for you to keep piling food and desserts on your plate. Avoid anything fried; use vegetables instead of crackers for dips. Eat slowly, and stick to small portions and healthy choices.
Continue your exercise regimen. Watching what you eat during the holiday season is one thing, but for true consistent fat loss or weight control you must also incorporate regular exercise. Do not abandon what has gotten you to the health and fitness level were at before the season.
Eat and drink healthy options and portions.
Eat a health protein snack and one to three big glasses of water before sitting down to dinner or heading to the holiday party. The protein will help you to feel full for longer, and the consumption of water beforehand will help you to stay hydrated and decrease or eliminate high-calorie beverages and the temptation to overdo it with alcohol. Drink less alcohol, eggnog, punch, soda, and coffee, these are beverages heavy in calories.
Avoid temptation and overindulging.
Whatever your game plan is that you create for the holiday season — stick to the ground rules, no matter what. If the break room at work is full of holiday treats throughout November and December, take more breaks at your desk, and pack and bring your own fresh fruits or veggie snacks to nibble on. While at a party, dinner, or family gathering do not over pack your plate or your children’s plates. Only give yourself and your children just enough to eat; what your positive voice considers to be healthy options and portions. Eat slowly and avoid repeated trips back to buffet to make plate-after-plate. Eat more fruits, vegetables, protein, and less refined carbohydrates.
Listen to your positive voice.
Something tells me, you’ve been very disciplined and driven with your fitness and healthy eating routine this year. So, you know what I mean when I say, listen to your positive voice versus your negative voice. Let’s face it, it’s the holiday season, the time of the year for thankfulness, joyful gatherings, giving, food, desserts, gifts, fun, laughter, traditions, celebrations, family, friends, co-workers, etc. In the midst of it all, it will be your positive voice to pull and get you through by reminding you to stay committed to your ground rules, exercise, and keep a healthy eating routine. Hear and embrace your positive voice each time when it speaks to you saying, “It is okay to have fun, eat, drink, give, and share joy and laughter – but don’t get carried away.”
Treat yourself, eat your favorite foods.
If your family and friends are like my family and friends, the holiday season is always packed with nonstop traditional foods, drinks, desserts, and more. And more times than not, there will always be something you must have and enjoy each year because it might be something that is only prepared during this time of the year. Do not attempt to deprive yourself of your favorite foods. This will only set you up for a disappointing binge. Allow yourself a small portion as your preferred treat and savor it.
Everyone deserves and should have fun throughout the holiday season. Holidays are an opportunity to catch up with family and friends. But the focus on food and eating during this season can be very rough, especially for those who have committed themselves to a fit and healthy way of living. Holiday meals and traditions do not have to be the downfall of what you’ve worked hard for all year. With a little preparation of your ground rules, you’ll be ready to face any November through December holiday season head-on, and enjoy it.
“Yes” and “No”, politely.
It’s tough to say “no” to your co-workers, family members or a stranger at a holiday dinner or party, so when they offer food or a treat to you that you know is loaded with calories, tell them thank you and take it. Say it looks tasty and you wish to take it with you because you’ve just eaten. Ask them to wrap it up for you for later — and give or share it with others so you do not ruin your healthy eating lifestyle on foods and treats loaded with calories during the holiday season. It’s okay…you do not have to be impolite because someone wants to give you food or a treat. Saying “no” and “yes” politely will keep feelings and relationships healthy and filled with joy throughout the season.
With countless parties, traveling here and there, delicious dessert exchanges, family gatherings, and plentiful holiday meals this time of year, even the most committed fit and healthy-eating person can be tempted to overindulge. Sure, the joy and spirit of the season is a great time to enjoy food, drinks, and treats, but you do not want to wake up on the other side of New Year’s Day kicking yourself for overdoing it. Thankfully you will have a few ground rules, continued dedication, and restraint on your side, so you can prevent ruining your commitment to healthy eating and fitness — and still have lots of fun throughout the holiday season.