If you are worried about weight gain during the holiday season, you’re not alone! How are we supposed to navigate parties, cookie exchanges, food gift baskets, Christmas stockings and all the holiday beverages and cocktails without extra pounds to start off the new year?
Our health and wellness journey is one that should include celebrations and special occasions. With a little mindfulness and preparation, you can enjoy the season without feeling deprived or guilty.
Munch Mindfully: Enjoy. Every. Bite. Eat slowly and really savor your food. Put your fork down between bites and take time for conversation with loved ones. Before going back for seconds, take a moment and ask yourself if you’re still hungry. Have a glass of water and then ask yourself again.
Sweet Strategies: Cookie exchange? Family party with mouth-watering desserts? It might seem intuitive to avoid eating the day of the party so you can enjoy those calorie-rich treats, but think twice! You're better off having a healthy breakfast of protein, like scrambled eggs or a protein shake. Enjoy a salad for lunch with avocado or a drizzle of olive oil. The protein, fresh veggies and healthy fat will keep you feeling full and satiated and less likely to over-indulge.
Energy-In Energy-Out: Calories are energy. If we eat more than we burn, our bodies store that extra energy as fat. When we move, we burn off extra calories or create room for those we’re about to eat. Make a plan to move this holiday season. Stand more and sit less at parties. Get out for a walk in the morning or afternoon before the festivities begin. Do some squats in the kitchen while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew. Take a few trips up and down your stairs. Dust off and connect the Wii and play tennis or challenge a cousin to a bowling match. Put on your favorite music and dance!
"Water is the driving force of all nature.” —Leonardo da Vinci: Staying hydrated is important for so many reasons, especially during cooler weather when we don’t feel as thirsty. Keep up your minimum intake of eight 8oz glasses of water this holiday season. Healthy metabolism and fat burning rely on our bodies being sufficiently hydrated. Drinking water is also a useful technique in moderating alcohol consumption. Drink a glass of water after each goblet of wine or cocktail. You’re likely to consume less alcohol calories over the course of the evening. Sparkling water with lemon or lime in a wine glass or cocktail tumbler is a great zero-calorie mocktail. Added bonus – no headache in the morning!
Forgive and Forget: So you indulged. Now what? Take a deep breath. Think about the advice you would give a friend. “It happens to everyone. One night cannot undo all the progress you made leading up to the holiday season.” We owe ourselves the same grace we offer friends. View that night of binging in the rear-view mirror and look ahead. It’s a new day with a clean slate. Nourish your body with fresh fruits and veggies, sip warm broth and take time to meal prep. Grab a pen and list the healthy habits that define you.