Many people view the holiday season as carte blanche to disregard their daily diet habits and exercise routines. However, it is important to indulge in moderation over the holidays so that you can stay healthy, energized and fit. Avoiding holiday weight gain requires summoning up extra will power in order to stick to your healthy habits. You need to withstand the temptations of rich foods and drinks at work parties, family gatherings and holiday feasts. You also need to carve out special time to exercise amidst the flurry of holiday activities.
Resisting Holiday Temptations
Establish a plan for each day as it comes. While weekly or monthly eating and exercise goals may suit you for the rest of the year, the holidays demand more flexibility. If you cannot make your 5 p.m. yoga class due to a work gathering, prepare for this reality by walking during your lunch hour.
Avoid arriving hungry to parties and special nights out. It seems counter-intuitive to manage your diet by eating before a party or dinner out, but you can maintain better control of what and how much you eat if you do not arrive to an event starving. A handful of nuts and raisins or a stack of carrots and a glass of water fill you with fiber and give you the energy and mental focus to make wiser food choices.
Be attentive to entree choices and portion sizes to control holiday eating. If you’re ordering an entree, opt for a lower-calorie option such as grilled fish and vegetables. One of the bugaboos of restaurant meals is that servings are larger than necessary. For a good holiday diet, stick to the salad, soup and appetizer menu. Portion control extends to alcoholic beverages, too. Empty calories pack those drinks, and stopping yourself after one means you will have extra mental focus for controlling your food choices.
Make eating and drinking at parties more challenging. Use the smallest plate possible and refrain from stacking it with food. Fill your first plate with fruits or vegetables only. Station yourself across the crowded room, away from the food and drink tables. Wait half an hour after your vegetable plate before returning for more food.
Integrate more daily activity into your life. This serves the dual purposes of controlling holiday weight gain as well as reducing the stress of the season. Invest in a pedometer to track your daily walking. Aim for 10,000 steps per day by parking farther from your office building, driving less, walking during breaks and scheduling walking or hiking dates with friends and family.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you slip and over-indulge. Every day offers a clean slate.