The holidays are a time for celebration and family. Unfortunately, they have become synonymous for eating an abundance of fattening foods. It’s almost as if we’ve come to accept that we are going to put on 10 pounds during each holiday season. Celebration doesn’t have to mean gluttonous eating or deprivation for that matter. It’s time to bring the focus back to the purpose of the holiday. Enjoy your friends and family, the time off and the traditions of the holidays. The holiday season might not be a time to lose weight, but it doesn’t have to be a time to lose your health. The key is to go into the holidays with a plan! Here are 12 tips to help your clients succeed this holiday season.
- Know what types of foods will be there and what you are going to choose to eat. Let’s face it; in general, you know what types of foods are on the Christmas dinner table. Plan ahead of time which foods are important to you and which you could do without. Choose your favourites but pass on those that are not special to you.
- Don’t go to the table telling people you’re “eating healthy this holiday season”. There’s no need to bring attention to your food choices. People will feel that you are not enjoying yourself or that they should feel guilty about what they are eating. Your host (especially your mom) will be disappointed if you’re not sampling all that she laboured over in the kitchen. You’re more likely to have success if you keep it low-key.
- Fill your plate heavily with vegetables, fruits and lower fat fare. Start your eating with these foods and than eat your favourites. This way you won’t be so hungry for the calorically dense foods. Besides, your relatives and the people around you are only going to draw attention to your food choices if you have an empty plate or are picking at food. This way, you are eating! Your plate is full and you are enjoying the foods you’ve chosen. No one should feel sorry for you, including you!
- Don’t say yes to all that is before you. You don’t need to pick at every gift basket that’s left at your desk or eat your way through the holiday buffets. Choose wisely and carefully.
- If you’re cooking, try not to nibble throughout the day. All those little bites add up.
- If you’re cooking, try some new lighter recipes. Use high quality, fresh ingredients and the foods will taste great. You just don’t want to tell your guests that they’re lighter until after they’ve already enjoyed it. We’re predetermined to think that healthy food can’t be good.
- If you’re not cooking, offer to bring a dish. Bring something that you know you can fill up on without the guilt.
- Moderate your drinking at the holidays because it most often leads to the worst choices. Alcohol will slow down your metabolism and your good judgment. Try a wine spritzer instead of champagne. Or just try to limit yourself so you can enjoy your holiday fully!
- Have a healthy snack before you go to a holiday meal. Don’t go to a party on an empty stomach. When you get to the party and you’re already satisfied, you’re less likely to eat as a reaction to hunger.
- Get your exercise. Take a walk before or after the holiday meals to get your metabolism going. When you take care of yourself regularly with exercise, your desire for unhealthy foods tends to decrease.
- If at first you don’t succeed, don’t throw in the towel. Most of us tend to eat out of control after we give in to that initial temptation. Don’t assume that because you ate a piece of cake that you now have to try every type of pie on the table. Accept your choice and than move on.
- Control stress. We often eat as a result of stress or emotions. The holiday season can be a tiring, stressful time. Make sure to take time for relaxation and exercise so that you’re not prone to eating for stress management.
Overall, remember the meaning of the holidays and that they can be enjoyed without indulging in mass quantities of food. Make sure to focus on the meals you can control. Get plenty of nourishing foods in throughout the holiday season to make up for some of the not so good choices at parties. The key to overall health is to eat healthy overall. A few meals with less than healthy choices will not lead to your downfall. This year, make your focus on giving and not what you’re taking in.