It’s a special time of year. The leaves have changed, the first snow is on its way and the holidays have us celebrating. Across most cultures, the most consistent way we celebrate is to feast. Big meals, cookies, cakes, desserts, alcohol, snacks, egg nog, Hanukkah geld, are always in reach this time of year.
You should celebrate and enjoy yourself! However, many of us might need to keep the celebrating in check for fear that January 1 hits us with the few extra pounds that we want to have.
Good news is that you can have your cake and eat it too. Moderation is key, though it might prove difficult. Get a jumpstart using a few of these tips this holiday season.
Yes, it is not the most fun option, but counting calories is the only surefire way to keep you accountable and aware of what you are ingesting. It’s also a great way to understand what your food really provides for you. If you are counting, do so respectfully. Subtly take note and do not make it the fore of your conversations.
If counting calories between carols is not your idea of fun, a good trick is to simply prioritize eating lean proteins like fish, chicken and tofu over the heavy carbs and butteriness that are easy options. Go for the protein first so you can fill up and are less likely to binge on the chips or desserts.
Fill up and hydrate by drinking a glass of water or two before meals. This will keep you hydrated and avoid stuffing yourself. It’s also key if you get your calories from booze. Have at least one 8 oz glass of water before each drink you have.
Up your cardio.
You cannot counterbalance a bad diet with exercise. Let’s repeat that: You cannot counterbalance a bad diet with exercise. However, upping your cardio will give you a little bit of a jumpstart. Lift some weights as well to help burn a bit more.
Limit your poison.
Commit to a drink limit and drink smartly. (This is difficult to do when you have been drinking.) Opt for drinks with less sugar like scotch neat or vodka soda. And try to pace- no more than a drink an hour.
Choose one meal.
If the holidays become weeks and weeks of celebration, be smart and allow yourself one indulgent meal. Keep the other meals light and filled with vegetables and lean proteins.
The true key to surviving the holiday cravings is to anticipate and plan. Carry light healthy snacks so you aren’t starving after long trips. Bring a lighter beer. Ask what’s for dinner before chowing down on the dip. Be smart and stay two steps ahead of your food impulses.
The golden rule of the holiday season: Forgive yourself. If you eat something, do not feel bad about it, and do not allow it to let you spiral into making more questionable choices. Let it go and move on. Remember you are just as powerful after a mistake as you were beforehand. Harness that power and move on to a good choice. It is always an option.