I know we all say the same thing every year, but here it goes again: “I can’t believe the Holidays are here already!”
Lots of parties, time with family and friends, and of course, food. Food undoubtedly, is the foundation of most events and gatherings, with the majority of items probably not being considered the healthiest. But there’s always New Year’s right around the corner to start fresh and get on track, right?
Are New Year’s Resolutions The ‘Magic Pill’?
It was always hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that people would use New Year’s as an excuse not to want to start their weight loss or health improvement efforts.
Is there some magic in New Year’s resolutions that will make it any easier to lose weight or eat healthy once the New Year rolls around? There will always be some barrier to your weight loss efforts, regardless of the time of year.
Vacations and barbeques in the summer perhaps, or heading back to work or school in the fall, which will limit the time for meal planning. Or how about all that chocolate and candy around Valentine’s and Easter time.
There is always going to be some reason why now is not a good time or some barrier to starting to make healthy lifestyle changes. The important thing is knowing that you are ready to take charge of your health and toss the excuses to the side.
Even in my private practice this year, I have not seen as much of a slow down in meeting with clients as I was expecting. Which makes me overjoyed that people are overcoming the barriers of this Holiday season, and just being sensible about their food choices, and not over-indulging.
I have to share a quick story. I sent my cousin a message to check to see if she would be coming to a spa party I was having that upcoming Friday. She responded no because she was going to a cookie exchange. Her message that followed was “How do I lose 20 pounds?”
I just laughed to myself. Was she really asking me that right after she said she was going to a cookie exchange?
Put Guilt Aside
With that said, the Holiday season is definitely full of temptations, and it is important to know some tips that may help you keep your weight and health in check this year. Also, it is just as important to enjoy time with family and friends.
Do not feel guilty about having some dessert or extra mashed potatoes during a Holiday gathering. You are not a “failure” or “cheating”, you are human. It is equally important to enjoy this special time with loved ones, as it is to still be sensible about portion sizes and food choices.
Another note worth mentioning is if you are traveling, and will be staying at someone’s home. Do not be afraid to ask them to stock the cupboards with some healthy foods during your stay.
Or maybe even offer to do some grocery shopping for them! Often when we visit friends and family, there is a lot of eating out involved, which can be a recipe for disaster. Once again, don’t feel guilty about asking them this; they should be respectful of your choice to eat and stay healthy.
Here are my 5 tips for keeping your waistline in check this Holiday season, while still enjoying this special time with family and friends
1. Don’t Skip Breakfast Or Lunch Before Your Holiday Meal
Most people think it’s best to starve yourself all day, so that you can “save-up” your calories for the big meal. Don’t do that! Eat as you normally would prior to, or maybe even healthier than you usually do! Going prolonged periods of time without eating, and then binging, is one of the worst things you can do when you are trying to control weight.
2. Fill Your Plate Up With Vegetables
Make at least ½ your plate veggies. If you want to make sure there will be a vegetable dish there, then offer to make one to share.
Eat your vegetables first, then your protein, and save the starch for last. Vegetables are going to the lowest calorie item on the dinner menu, so filling up on them will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
3. Eat Slowly
If you are anything like me, I don’t even realize how fast I am eating until everything is gone! Eating slowly will give you a feeling a fullness before you completely stuff yourself.
Also, taking the time to chew and swallow, better allows you to enjoy all the different wonderful flavors the meal has to offer.
4. Drink Water
Don’t drink your calories! I can’t stress that enough! Water is zero calories, keeps you hydrated, and contributes to a feeling of fullness. If plain water isn’t your thing, try throwing in a wedge of lemon or lime, or a slice of cucumber.
5. Make Sure Dessert Is Worth The Calories
My advice here is to make that dessert count. Try to select something that you really enjoy, but rarely get to have. If you find that it is not as enjoyable as you were hoping, do not feel pressured to eat it anyways.
No one wants to insult the host, but cramming in extra calories just to be nice, is not doing you any favors in regards to keeping your weight in control. If someone asks, just say it was delicious but you are too full to finish.
As another alternative, you can always offer to bring a dessert that you’ve put a healthy spin on.
The Holidays do create a roadblock on our path to healthier living, but it does not mean we have to fall completely off the wagon. There are several ways, like those listed above, that can help to keep us sensible and from over-indulging.
There is no better time to take control of your weight and health than now. There will always be barriers and struggles, but the important thing is to keep moving forward and learn and conquer.
I want to wish everyone a very Happy Holidays, and really take this time to enjoy the company of your family and friends.