customs and traditions over the holiday season are widely diverse and at times completely unique, but the one thing we all have in common is food! it is a time of celebration, family, friends and enjoying the good things in life which always brings us together around a table. even the most dedicated health enthusiast is sure to splurge on a christmas favorite from gooey sweet potato casserole to a shimmering red cocktail. indulging in that one holiday treat is not a problem. we get in trouble when those temptations come at us from every angle for nearly two months! by the time we wake from our food coma in mid-january, we are back on the roller coaster of diets and hit programs to drop those sneaky pie and potato pounds.
take a look at the top three ways you can fend off the extra weight this season and enter the new year feeling fit and satisfied.
this may seem counterintuitive, but the truth is the more we refuse ourselves what we really want the harder it becomes to stick to that resolve. we may be able to skip on aunt susan’s pecan pie once, but when it makes an appearance at three more dinner parties, we will eventually cave in to the desire. the trick here is to say yes. enjoy your holiday season but do so with mindfulness. if you are dreaming of marshmallow capped hot chocolate, then drink it! just be sure to count it in your day’s consumption. if you had a large scoop of creamy green been casserole, then skip things that you’re not craving like dinner rolls or another sugar laden fruit salad.
if something you love is offered, consider how often you get to eat it. if it is just as accessible in june as it is in december, pass it along and choose a real holiday treat instead.
when you do say ‘yes’ to the things you love, mind the portion size. it doesn’t need to be microscopic, but keep it relevant to your fitness goals. make sure you can burn it off the next day or cut enough calories to make it fit in your day without starving.
it seems to make sense that if you want to enjoy a huge dinner with all the trimmings, skipping breakfast and lunch can help balance out the indulgence. this isn’t exactly true. skipping meals does a lot to throw your system out of whack and actually slow down or stop your metabolism. it also leaves your brain and body feeling ravenous. so when you do sit down to the assembly line of deliciousness, you are now wired to overeat and shock your digestive tract with heavy foods.
it takes the body about 20 minutes to realize it’s full, so eat slowly and pass on seconds until the first plate has had time to settle. to avoid the initial heaping servings on round one, eat a good breakfast, a nutritious lunch and have a fiber and/or protein packed snack about half an hour before dinner. this way you can enjoy all the good foods without eating too much!
the holiday season is busy, busy, busy, but if we can keep two simple habits all the way through, our bodies will thank us come january. sleep and walk, preferably not at the same time. getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night may seem impossible with your to-do list, but you’ll find you are much more productive if you make sleep a priority. it will also help keep your immune system healthy this winter.
often our exercise routine won’t make the cut during the busy days leading up to the 24th and 25th. don’t sweat it. simply add in movement at every moment during your day. every hour, take a casual lap around the office, do a few squats at your desk and be sure to take a walk after every meal. just bringing basic awareness to your daily movements can go a long way in fighting off the seasonal weight gain.