Food is everywhere during the holiday season, almost haunting us and making it tough to stick to our healthy eating and exercise habits. With mindfulness, however, you can make it through the holidays without losing track of your healthy lifestyle!
1. Focus on weight maintenance vs. weight loss during the holidays! Maintenance of your weight is a big enough challenge during the holiday season. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making unrealistic goals for yourself.
2. Do NOT plan on dieting “starting January”! It’s about making small changes and committing to a lifestyle change, anyway, however, anticipation of food restriction increases your risk for binge-eating over the holidays.
3. Enjoy your favorite holiday treats but take a small portion, eat slowly, and savor the taste and texture.
4. Continue being active as much as you can!
5. Beware of the office candy: practice self-control by choosing 1 piece or asking yourself if you really want one…. Sometimes it might not be your favorite candy assortment but you choose to have some just because they’re around.
6. Put the foods you want to eat on a plate- that helps you keep track of your portions better than mindlessly snacking especially in the case of finger foods.
7. Practice using a healthy plate method when filling up your plate, fill half your plate with vegetables, quarter with a starch such as rice, potatoes, or bread, and the other quarter with a meat such as turkey, chicken, beef, fish or if you’re a vegetarian, perhaps tofu, lentils and others- Here’s the trick though, stick to one plate and resist going for seconds; if you wait a few minutes, you will most likely realize that you are no longer hungry anyway! If you waited a few minutes and still hungry, fill-up more on vegetables and fruit and reassess ?
8. Eat a snack before you leave home. If you arrive at a party starving, you’ll be more likely to overindulge. I know you might want to skip breakfast and lunch to make sure you have room for a massive dinner, however, that can throw off your metabolism and cause binging at supper, which can be uncomfortable. Although you might want to consume ligher meals throughout the day, stick to your regular eating schedule as much as possible. That being said, allow yourself to enjoy a Christmas meal, however, in moderation.
9. Be assertive! This is a work-in-progress for me too personally! Don’t feel as though you have to say yes to everyone that offers you food and drink! If you’re like me and “feel bad” saying no, remember to watch out for yourself! If you are not hungry, then simply say so. Do not let yourself eat something that you really don’t want.
10. Leave what you don’t want: Don’t feel obliged to finish your plate. When you feel full, stop eating. Simple. If you’re like myself and grew up in a household where you “have to” finish what’s on your plate, either fill-up less on your plate to begin with! Another helpful analogy to think of is this: Foods remaining on your plate when you’re full are going to be thrown out anyway, whether in the garbage or your stomach if you’re already full so don’t force it in!
11. When you are the host or hostess, prepare and include nutritious and lower-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats on the menu. When you are a guest, bring along a lower-calorie dish to share and enjoy yourself!
12. Drink in Moderation: 1 drink for women, 2 drinks for men per day (one drink = 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor)
13. Overeating one day won’t “ruin” your eating plan. It takes days of overeating to gain weight. If you over-indulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you. Return to your usual eating plan the next day without guilt or despair.
Last but not least, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!