Cue the holiday jingles! It’s the most wonderful time of the year… unless you’re trying to eat healthily and stay on track with your health goals.
If you’re finding it difficult to keep up with your health routine during December, even after being truly dedicated to your health journey all year, trust me, you’re not alone. The holidays always come with lots of opportunities to overindulge and get off track. But there ARE simple ways to navigate the season without throwing away all the hard work of the past 11 months - and gaining a bunch of weight.
Here are 10 helpful tips to get you through the holidays with minimal collateral damage:
- Stick to your nutrition plan - when you can. You can’t control what foods you’ll run across at parties or at the office, but you can make sure you’re well stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables at home. Fill the fruit bowl, and put it on the counter as a reminder to eat what your body really needs.
- Follow your health routine as much as possible. Step One is a great part of your routine to keep up during the holidays. When you eat Step One Foods, you’re getting the perfect mix of nutrients to keep you feeling fuller longer and to fuel your heart properly. Heart attack rates actually go up over the holidays, so attending to your heart’s health is even more crucial now.
- Reduce alcohol intake by alternating every serving of alcohol with a glass of water. If you use sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime, no one will even notice. Alcohol is a big source of empty calories – and next day headaches -- and this strategy will cut your alcohol and calorie intake by half, while improving hydration.
- Learn to say no. Don’t feel like you have to attend every party or eat every morsel of food presented to you.
- Make time for yourself, every day. This is a stressful period for many and stress makes us naturally less likely to make good lifestyle choices. A great way to kill two birds with one stone is to relegate stress reduction to exercise. You don’t need to break a sweat every time – even going for a short walk and taking a few deep breaths can make all the difference in the world.
- Pay extra attention to what you're eating. Sit down, chew slowly and enjoy it. You may find you’ll be completely satisfied with a smaller amount.
- Adjust your plate. Make extra room for fruits, salads and vegetables, and less room for higher calorie items. You’ll still enjoy everything offered at the meal, but in a more balanced way.
- Be choosy when it comes to sweets. Not every dessert or treat is worth eating. Focus on choosing only those things that you find truly pleasurable and then follow rule 6.
- Don’t feel guilty. It’s a useless emotion. If you eat a less than perfect meal, move on and get back to your better dietary practices as quickly as possible. Don’t be too hard on yourself. No one is perfect all the time.
- Focus on health, not weight. You’re in this to live a longer and healthier life. Whenever you can, choose foods that support health. The rest will take care of itself.