Nothing causes more angst than the holiday season, and holds even more true if you are trying to get in shape and/or lose weight.
So here are five more tips to help you conquer the holiday season like a boss; all the while keeping your waistline, and sanity, intact!
Expect the Unexpected
Some of the biggest perils you face during the holiday season aren’t due to one or two big meals; instead, it’s because everywhere you turn holiday treats appear without warning.
Like a pack of sugar-coated ninja.
You will be minding your own business, staying on track eating right and exercising on a regular basis, and going about your day when BAM! Out of nowhere you are being assaulted by sugar cookies, brownies, and chocolate.
They appear on the receptionist’s desk, in the break room, in the doctor’s waiting room, on store counters in the mall… even at the gym — no place is safe!
So what’s a well-intentioned person to do when those black-clad health assassins leap out of the shadows with a sugary snack attack?
You need to be prepared
with a flipping sweet sword by traveling with your own munchies.
Look, we know that these sneak attacks are going to happen. So instead of being blind-sided, travel with your own snacks if you are the type of person who feels out of place not participating in group snacking activities.
A bag of raw almonds, some carrot sticks, home-made trail mix or a piece of fruit will satisfy your desire to eat with your co-workers or friends while at the same time helping you avoid the less healthy choices that might present themselves.
Eat to Satisfy Hunger, Not Boredom or Stress
This is a tough one.
For a lot of people, eating often not only satisfies hunger but an emotional need as well; helping to fend off the effects of stress in their lives.
Add to that the fact that stress is a major contributor to increasing your cortisol levels, which in turn can lead to increased weight gain on even without the extra calories you are powering down trying while stress-snacking.
And no time is more hectic and stressful than the holidays.
So what can you do about this one? First off, you have to listen to your body… are you really hungry or are you just looking for something to do with your hands?
Second, grab a glass of water. Before you grab a bag of pretzels when you are feeling peckish, see if a glass of water fills you up.
Sleep it off!
A good night’s sleep does wonders for reducing stress levels. Make sure you are getting enough!
The holidays are to enjoy.
There is nothing wrong with partaking in some of the tasty, yet less-than-healthy fare, that is going to present itself.
That doesn’t mean going all Homer Simpson and treating the holiday season like a three-week long buffet though!
Indulging yourself for a meal or two is one thing, overindulging day in and day out is a recipe for disaster though. All those extra calories add up, and if you aren’t careful you might find that you have sabotaged months of healthy eating in the span of a couple of weeks.
The weight people gain during the holidays makes up a big part of the year-over-year weight gain many adults experience in their lives.
Of course we know that we can always return to a clean and healthy diet, and exercise like crazy, after the holidays have come to a close, but why not just avoid the situation altogether?
All you need to do is pace yourself.
You won’t gain 10 pounds from one party, but overindulge night after night and see what happens.
Exercise your willpower and be smart about your decisions.
- Don’t take treats or leftovers home
- Avoid the break room if you’re going to be tempted
- Plan around events; if you have a dinner or party planned, then be extra vigilant leading up to it
Also, don’t waste your time on crappy foodstuffs. If something is only decent then don’t finish it! Why waste some of your daily caloric intake on less than delicious food? That’s crazy talk!
Save your indulgences for a select few things that really make your taste-buds smile.
Learn to Deal With Food-Pushers
We’ve covered this topic before (check out How To: Survive the Holiday Dinners if you missed it) but I think it bears repeating.
It can be hard to say no when loved ones and friends offer up servings of unhealthy holiday fare; especially when it’s someone’s special homemade recipe.
There’s two ways to deal with this.
- Have a small helping. A few extra calories are often better than hurting someone’s feelings.
- Be sneaky. Keep your plate full of healthy fare, leaving no room for more food… that way you can just smile and show that you’re all set.
Either way, be gracious.
If Aunt Petunia is going to cry because you don’t try some of her Snickerdoodle Crusted Chicken Pot Pie of Doom then just have a few bites, smile and tell her how good it is before going back to pounding the colorful veggies.
This Isn’t the Time to Start a New Diet
I know you don’t want to pack on the pounds during the holidays, but this probably isn’t the time to try to lose weight either.
Trying to restructure your eating habits drastically when there are tons of holiday parties and meals going on is just going to cause you a ton of distress. Don’t do that to yourself.
Remember, what we said above… Indulge a little.
The key word being “little“.
Just eat your fill of fruits, veggies and lean protein throughout the day so when you hit up a party, or a family get-together, you can splurge on the dairy, grains and sweets without sweating it too much.
But don’t dive in willy-nilly… have a plan of attack!
Take stock of all the options first, and pick one or two things that you know you really will enjoy. Even better, share a dessert with a loved one or co-worker. It’s just the first few bites that really activate the pleasure centers of the brain anyway.
So make sure you enjoy the holidays. Don’t let counting calories ruin your time with friends and family; remember life is all about finding balance!
Well that’s it for this year loyal readers, I will see you all in 2015!
And if you need a holiday gift for someone, grab a copy of the Heroes’ Transformation Guide now!
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