The period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is without a doubt the hardest period for anyone to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle or any diet plan in general. Temptations from cookies, chocolate, cakes, as well as the wide selection of food and drinks can be very strong and irresistible. In addition, this is a period when some of us meet friends and family members that we have not seen since the last holiday season. As we eat and celebrate together, with plenty of food around, those little extra calories can quickly add up.
However, with proper planning ahead, and implementing the following few simple tips you can stay healthy and prevent or minimize any unwanted weight gain during the holiday season.
Don’t go to holiday gatherings hungry.
Always try to eat small amount of healthy food, such as fruits and vegetables before you meet friends and family for any holiday gathering. As well, eat several small meals throughout the day, and don’t starve yourself by skip meals in preparation for the big family dinner. The idea is to make sure you are not hungry and ravenous when you start feasting. This simple idea will prevent you from overeating and also ensures that you already have some healthy food on board just in case your dinner does not include much of the healthy options.
Consume alcohol moderately.
Have at least one glass of clean water before you eat or drink anything at the holiday party. Again, it is easy to forget water especially when there are varieties of alcoholic beverages available to wash down those turkey, roast, and ham. Consume alcohol moderately since some of them can pack lots of calories, so watch out. Avoid sodas, fruit juices and other drinks such as eggnog and chocolate milk, if possible.
Start with the healthy options.
If available, choose the healthy options first and fill your plate with vegetables and other high fiber foods before reaching for that prime rib. Don’t forget to also go easy on the gravy, vegetable dips and salad dressing – these are often sources of calories most of us never consider!
Treat yourself to small dessert.
Now, don’t be too hard on yourself, and turn a blind eye to all the goodies. Yes, you can allow yourself small indulgence and treat yourself to small amount of cookies, cakes or ice cream if you like. The key is moderation. This can be your dessert after the meal. Other great dessert options can include fresh or dried fruits and nuts.
Use the opportunity to walk.
While the holiday season come with challenges and extra stress sometimes, it also present some opportunities to burn a few extra calories while busy buying gifts for friends and family members. You can park your car a little further away from the mall or shopping center and enjoy short walks into the mall and from one store to another. These little walks can quickly add up. In addition to shedding some weight from regular walking, this exercise can be a great stress buster as well. If you like to keep track of your daily walk, then wearing a pedometer is a great idea, and can help motivate you to walk even more.
Find good ways to de-stress.
As mentioned above, the holidays can be a very stressful season. Subsequently, we must find a way to relax and unwind after a day of shopping or hanging out with friends and family. However, some of us tend to relax with even more food and drinks. Relax by going out for a walk, reading a good book, stretching exercises, deep breathing, watching or reading something funny. Don’t forget to get a good night sleep as well during this period. If you already have an exercise routine, then try to maintain it. If you don’t have any routine, then consider starting one, or joining a local fitness center.
Pack some fitness essential when travelling.
If you are travelling during the holiday, remember to pack a few fitness essential along with you in your overnight bag to use on-the-go. Items such as exercise mat, jump rope, as well as resistance bands and tubes can be a great motivation to exercise – not just for you alone, but friends and family as well.
The bottom line is to have fun during the holidays but also remember that it is not all about food and drink. The holiday season is also a good period to spend quality time with friends and family. Also, don’t forget to treat yourself to some new holiday candles, or listen to your favorite Christmas music.
Enjoy the holidays, plan ahead, incorporate regular exercise into your daily routines, and go easy on those cookies!