You can enjoy this holiday season with these healthful tips, and continue winning at the weight loss game! Here’s a healthy holiday survival guide to help as you enter this challenging time of year.
1. Don’t skip meals – especially breakfast. Studies after study shows that those who eat a complete balanced meal in the morning eat fewer, and better quality calories throughout the day. Not only does it provide a psychological boost to anyone trying to lose weight, but also by starting the day off with the right foods, you’ll be less inclined to ruin your efforts later.
2. Never arrive hungry – tempting foods are a lot harder to resist when you’re hungry and your blood sugar is low. Eat something on the way to your event, be it string cheese or a dozen almonds and a piece of fruit, half of a peanut butter sandwich, or whole grain crackers and cottage cheese or yogurt. Your willpower will soar while your resolve to resist stays in place.
3. Portion control is paramount – eliminating certain foods entirely may be extremely difficult. If you can’t resist your favorite food, do the next best thing: eat a small portion and limit yourself to that. But, eat it AFTER you eat the food you .
4. Stay focused on fitness – finding the time to exercise can cause additional stress during the holiday season. Make it a habit to use the stairs, take walks during your lunch breaks, park far away from the mall entrance when shopping, and do stretches and simple calisthenics in your bedroom any time you have just a few minutes to add in something active. Twenty minutes of daily exercise is all you need to help keep your metabolism on track, 30 minutes is better, but anything you do is better than nothing.
5. If you must order a drink, make it red wine or a wine spritzer (wine with club soda). Always have a glass of water in the other hand, and while you’re at it – hold your alcoholic drink in your non-dominant hand and your water chaser in your dominant hand. You’ll drink more water, and eat less food (as both hands are occupied) Make a bargain with yourself to drink 2 waters for every alcoholic beverage. There’s only so much liquid you can hold!
6. If you receive holiday gifts of unhealthy food, donate them to a needy person or homeless shelter. Don’t keep them around the house.
7. Drink plenty of water – stay well hydrated. You will look and feel better. Drink before you eat, as the thirst mechanism isn’t very sensitive, and thirst can often be mistaken for hunger.
8. Almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pistachios are all rich in vitamins and antioxidants. They contain healthy fats that will satisfy you and improve your health. Have ½ ounce as an afternoon snack and it’ll help you manage your dinner appetite. Weigh out 5 portions and have them bagged up and ready to eat in your desk drawer, purse or briefcase.
9. Don’t isolate yourself – instead, eat your meals and go out for the social gatherings that make the season festive! If you feel awkward about attending without eating, order a small salad or fruit appetizer, or if at a buffet, eat raw vegetables or fruit.
10. Dark chocolate contains less sugar, and more healthful flavonoids, than other chocolates. If you can’t resist the box of chocolates, pick one plain dark square and enjoy!