With the holiday season comes the fear of imminent weight gain and the dreaded d-word (diet) looms ugly and fierce on the horizon. Here are some ways to put those fears to rest and enjoy a diet-free holiday season.
Stay active. Crazy weather and schedules may force you to become a bit creative with your physical activity, but MAKE IT A PRIORITY! Keeping an exercise routine will not only help keep your metabolism going, but it will help your commitment to healthful, balanced food choices as well.
Veg-out. No, this is not the call of the couch, but rather a call to take advantage of all the tasty, nutrient rich dishes that are traditional with the holidays. Veggies are one of the most effective ways to keep nutrition high and calories low since they are naturally high in water, fiber and low in calories. Don’t hesitate to get your veggies from a variety of sources.
Don’t skip meals. Skipping lunch in order to save up for a holiday dinner party means you’ll hit the buffet starving and most likely overdo it on higher fat, appetizers and simple carbohydrate traps like the dessert table. If you know you have a festive eating event coming up, make sure that your breakfast and lunch have a good balance of protein, produce and whole grains to help keep you nourished and satisfied so that you can approach the buffet table with a level head and choose reasonable portions of the foods that mean the most to you.
Be picky. With the exception of being backed into a corner with Aunt Mae and her fruitcake that, “you absolutely must try,” we generally have control over our food choices during the holidays. If you don’t absolutely love it, don’t eat it.
Be portion aware and pay attention! Go with a sliver instead of a slice, and slow the whole meal down. If we actually paid attention to and heeded our hunger and fullness cues, our bodies would be able to self-regulate towards health. If you’re not that hungry, take tiny portions, wait and re-evaluate how full you are. If you’re really hungry, start slow, and check-in while you eat to see if you’re filling up so that you don’t overshoot the full mark and end up miserably stuffed. And if you’re not hungry at all, don’t eat.
Chances are you’re tired, thirsty, bored or lonely. So drink some water, put on your favorite holiday tunes (who can resist Johnny Mathis?), fit a puzzle, soak in the tub, or call/text a friend. Eating mindfully now will stave off the need to diet come January.