The Christmas holidays. They are here, once again. Endless days of parties, pastries, shopping and stress. Everywhere you look and everywhere you go temptation abounds. Clients bring edible gifts, friends deliver baked goods. The office holiday party overflows with food and drink.
With enticement everywhere, what do you do? Give in and pay the price in January? Or sacrifice now and start the new year without a brand-new muffin top? To make it easier on you, here’s a guide to enjoying yourself sensibly.
1. Stay in Motion
Exercise whenever you can squeeze it in. Staying active will keep your metabolism revved up. Exercise also reduces your stress level and clears your mind, a welcome bonus. So park far away from the mall entrance; carry your own bags; clean vigorously; rise 20 minutes earlier and hop on the treadmill; perform as many squats, lunges and pushups as you can muster. Jump on a trampoline or participate in half of your regular exercise class. It doesn’t matter what it is – just keep moving.
2. Keep Eating
Before you do anything else – eat. Eat prior to every shopping trip, party and gathering. When you are starving you are apt to eat anything that is not nailed down. You will ingest too much, too quickly and make bad choices. So eat frequently and healthily. Before a party, have some low fat vegetable soup or steamed veggies. Try healthy fiber-filled foods to take the edge off your hunger.
3. Wear Your Clothes Tight
Wearing something that’s snug around your waist reminds you to keep focused on your goal, which is to not overindulge. If you are comfortable and have room at the waistline it is easier to overeat.
4. Survey the Scene
When at a party or gathering, spend a few moments surveying your food choices. Pick out a couple of items you really can’t miss (the brownies? Grandma’s special casserole?). Then, using the smallest plate you can find, select salads (go easy on the dressing), veggies and lean proteins (chicken breast, shrimp, skinless turkey or beans). When you have filled up on healthy goods then proceed to your favorites. Take a small serving of each and enjoy.
5. Shut The Voices Out
Don’t listen to the crackers and nuts. They will call your name. They will entice you to eat more of them than you should. One visit to each is fine; but handful after handful is easy to do without thinking, and the calories add up quickly.
6. Eat Slowly
Take your time. Enjoy. Talk a lot. Sip water in between bites. Give your stomach a chance to tell you when it’s full.
7. Don’t Linger
Put some distance between yourself and the food. When you are done, you are done. Move on.
8. Brush Your Teeth
If you can, bring a toothbrush. After dessert brush your teeth. You will be less likely to keep eating if you can’t taste the food you just ate.
Have a good season but party with restraint. Even if you gain only a couple of pounds, remember – few people actually lose that holiday weight. Eat what you really like, skip what you really don’t care for. And move your body more. Focus on being with your family and friends and sharing moments rather than focusing on the food.