The holidays are a time for family, friends, good food and creating great memories. Our schedules are filled with shopping, decorating, and holiday party hopping. The busy days can make it challenging to maintain healthy exercise and sleep habits, making it easy to turn to food for a quick energy rush or comfort when feeling sad or lonely.
When you combine lack of sleep with skipped workouts and poor food choices, it is easy to see why so many people complain of weight gain over the holidays. However, with a few simple strategies, you can fend off the unwanted holiday weight gain and prevent unhealthy habits from sabotaging the season!
Here are some of my favorite tips:
#1 Sip on soup. Soup is a low energy dense food, which means it provides fewer calories per gram - therefore you can eat a nice serving of soup, relatively low in calories. Having a cup of broth-based soup before a meal can help fill you up, so you don't overindulge in higher-calorie foods.
Bonus Tip: eat soup 30 minutes before your main meal to let your stomach register your food, helping to eat smaller portions of the more calorie-dense foods being served.
#2 Move away from the munchies. When socializing, avoid positioning yourself close to the appetizer and hors-d'oeuvre spread. This will not only help keep you more engaged in the conversation, but you will also not be tempted to eat between every other word. By stepping away from the food, you can focus on the people you are with.
Bonus Tip: When you eat, serve yourself on a plate. Think about the food you are eating, enjoy the smell, taste, and flavors of the meals. When talking, talk.
#3 Stock up on healthy foods. Prepare for your success by planning in advance. Be aware that life will get busy, you will get hungry, and your body will need food to function. Therefore, empower yourself by stocking up on nutritious and portable foods you can stash in your desk, car, gym bag, briefcase or purse.
Bonus Tip: Avoid going shopping or to a party on an empty stomach. Keep office goodies out of view or in an inconvenient location.
#4 Delay satisfaction. What should you do if you are at an office party? Instead of depriving yourself, which will probably lead to overindulging later, take it home for later. Often times delaying satisfaction can lead to realizing you did not need another serving or save it for when you can you can slow down and savor it.
Bonus Tip: Allow yourself to be more flexible this time of year. By giving yourself permission to savor holiday foods you'll be less likely to overeat and binge when your favorite foods are offered to you.
#5 Maintain a health and wellness journal. Food journaling has long been known as one of the most useful tools for helping people manage their weight. However, sometimes a food journal can get mentally exhausting if you are only thinking about the calories you consumed. Instead, shift the focus to health and wellness journaling. Track sleep habits, physical activity, mindful food moments, holiday joy, and if you choose to track food intake, pay attention to hunger and fullness cues along with your enjoyment of the foods.
Bonus Tip: Use the journal to explore what makes you feel both mentally and physically healthy.
Happy Holiday Season!!!
Yours in health,