Each year when the leaves change, the heater gets fired up, and you break out the sweatshirts and pants, I feel like it's already holiday season. We are bombarded with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years all back to back to back. It's a great time for family get-togethers and great food, but it's also the time when most people gain weight or lose all the progress they have made towards nutrition. Then comes Jan 1 and everybody's all, "Okay, time to get in shape again!" Let's not let that happen this year! We can enjoy what we like around the holidays and still come out fitter and healthier than ever. Below are my tips for holiday gatherings, parties, or even just with the food you make yourself!
**First things first - Weight loss/gain all starts with nutrition. You could exercise everyday for 60 minutes, but if you're nutrition stinks, the scale may not change or you may not see the toned abs, arms or whatever you're working towards.
Top Tips for Thriving during the Holidays
1. Eat your regular meals and do not skip them! - some people will skip lunch to stock up on a dinner party at work or with friends. This is poor planning and will ultimately cause you to eat more and that food will be stored as fat.
2. Drink a lot of water throughout the day - water keeps you hydrated and some people mistake hunger for thirst
3. Fill up on lean protein throughout the day or before the holiday event - protein leaves you fuller longer and more satisfied so you have a greater chance of not overindulging
4. Scan the spread - if you're at a party or at Grandma's for Thanksgiving and there is literally food all over, scan it all first. Find a healthy protein, a vegetable or two, and a healthy snack like a bowl of mixed nuts at the table
5. Enjoy your favorites - If marshmallow, brown sugar yams is your absolute must-have, then have it! But keep it a small portion, put your fork down between bites to savor it and then move on. If it's pecan pie, eat a small meal for lunch with protein and veggies and share a slice with someone.
These are my top 5. It's all about planning, portion control, and really enjoying yourself. We should enjoy food. When we tell ourselves we "shouldn't" eat something or "it's too bad" for us, that deprivation leads us to wanting it even more. And often times, that means doubling up on what we end up serving ourselves. DO NOT DEPRIVE YOURSELF! God made food and he made it delicious! But he also instructs us to honor our bodies.
So, you've got the tips down and you're prepared, but then your daughter brings home her Halloween basket full of your favorites or your mom makes your favorite puppy chow (this is me I'm talking about =) and brings it to your house. How do we resist those temptations???? Remember what you're working towards, allow one piece, one slice, one handful, then move on. Too often we let food control our behavior, mood, spirit, etc and then we are giving power to something that never had it to begin with. You are strong and can do it! And if you mess up, give yourself some grace and move on!
Happy Holiday Eating Folks!