The holidays are a magical time…but for most they come with the expectation of putting on extra pounds from all those holiday treats. If you know us, you know we’re not about to tell you that you should be restricting yourself and dieting through this tasty time of year. (In fact, we will NEVER tell you it’s a good idea to “diet.”) It’s ok to indulge!
But…if you’re “indulging” on every treat that comes your way, the healthy attitude of treating yourself in moderation becomes an unhealthy attitude of “I’ll splurge now and restrict later.” Yes, I worked in a gym as a personal trainer…I know how busy those treadmills get come January…
So, to help you avoid that roller coaster ride of “binge” and “restrict,” we’ve put together a few tips on How to be Healthy Through the Holidays:
1) Eat a big, nutritious breakfast every day. If you start the day with a balanced meal of protein, healthy fat, and carbs, you will set yourself up for success. If you start the day with a mouthful of your neighbor’s chocolate fudge…that’s another story. 😉
2) Exercise every day. For many people, when they exercise daily, it actually decreases their appetite and helps them make healthier choices throughout the day. And besides that, it will help you feel good!
3) Drink at least 60 oz. of water throughout the day. When you stay hydrated, your body won’t crave sweet or salty foods as much.
4) Make water your only beverage. Fizzy drinks, alcohol and holiday punch are all just empty calories. They add a significant amount of sugar to your diet, and don’t give you many nutrients. If you’re addicted to that fizzy feeling, try sparkling water instead with some lemon or lime to give it a little flavor. Much better than a soda that equates to your entire days worth (or more!) of added sugar.
5) Don’t snack on all the gifts of candy and cookies you receive. Store-bought fudge full of preservatives or your grandma’s warm homemade cookies? Pass the cookies please… Pick a couple of quality treats to indulge in and put the rest in the freezer for school lunches, guests, etc.
6) Think before you eat. Eating is a very emotional activity. Many times our eyes, minds, and hearts are what wants the food…not our stomachs. That’s ok, we’re human beings and that’s a natural tendency, but it can be helpful to think before you eat. Ask yourself if you’re actually hungry or if you’re just eating to eat.
7) Don’t starve yourself on the day of a big party. Eat a balanced breakfast and lunch, and go to the party with an appetite, but not starving. People who “fast” because they have a cool event to attend at night tend to overeat and feel sluggish and overly-full because of it.
8) Just can’t seem to avoid eating ALL-THE-THINGS at a party? Ask a friend to be your holiday food buddy. It’s a lot easier to stick to a goal if you’ve got some accountability.
Lastly, and most important, remember that IT IS GOOD TO EAT AND INDULGE IN MODERATION. There is absolutely NO guilt or shame if you accidentally overeat one night. Move on! Don’t “punish” yourself by extra miles on the treadmill or by starving yourself the next day. These are unhealthy habits that will lead to a lifetime of restriction and unhappiness. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Allow yourself a treat, but make sure you actually want the treat, and you’re not just eating it because that’s what we do at parties…
In the end, FOOD IS FUEL, so keep that in mind as you choose what you put in your body. Nutrient-dense foods are the building blocks of a healthy diet. If you do that 80% of the time, it’s totally ok to eat a treat here or there! “Bingeing” occurs after a time of restriction, so rather than set yourself up for that roller coaster, pick your treats wisely, enjoy them in moderation, and MOVE ON!