Even though a holiDAY is technically only a day, most of us overindulge for the entire month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Office parties, school bazaars, and family dinners fill the diary and fill your belly with foods you wouldn't usually choose on your plate. Of course there are some things you eat because of tradition (think freshly baked cookies in front of the Christmas tree), others you eat because you are starving and there are only pigs in a blanket at the event you are attending. Either way, we all overdo it just a bit - or in some cases a lot. Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday, and I have figured out ways to not let all the super yummy food get in the way of my waist line and my holiday outfits.
Don't make every day a special day
On a regular basis, I try to instill the 80/20 rule in my clients. Focus on high quality food 80% of the time/meals, and go a bit crazy for the other 20%. Keep the same concept for the holidays. On regular days, focus on your healthy meals, perhaps making them at home, eating very clean. Then at the holiday parties, let your hair down and enjoy the mince pies!
Fill your plate with veggies
There is never a time to not eat your veggies, but especially during the holidays you will want to make sure you fill up your plate with them. I always try to explain to my clients that veggies are your friends. They are full with water and fiber, which means they fill you up the healthy way. On top of that there are no nasty additives which could play havoc with your waist line.
So when you are having a holiday meal, fill half your plate with veggies (especially the green leafy kind), then fill the other half with your holiday favorites. And when you go back for seconds, make sure you have the same plate composition again.
If you indulge, indulge in the best!
When I want to have chocolate, I don't go for the crappy impulse buy at the check out, but I choose the best tasting chocolate with the highest quality ingredients to really indulge in. Try that same concept for all holiday favorites. Instead of eating all kinds of packaged cookies, make a batch of festive sugary goodness yourself and enjoy these. Making holiday foods at home will always automatically mean you use better quality ingredients than the store bought kinds. And they will always taste better! That is the best way to induldge.
Start traditions not involving food
While most traditions around the holidays involve food, try to start some new ones that are more activity based. For as long as I can remember, my family used to go for a long afternoon walk every day during the holidays, no matter what the weather was like. This way you get out, get some fresh air, and digest the food you just enjoyed. If walking or hiking isn’t your thing, maybe take your family skiing, swimming, for a yoga class, or to the playground. A new tradition I started for myself, is to always go for a run on January 1st first thing in the morning. I clear my head during the run, and I start the new year on a fitness high this way. Find something that you love to do, and make it part of your new holiday traditions.
Most importantly, don't stress out too much during the holidays. Focusing on your calorie or carb count is just going to get you down. Instead, enjoy this time with family and friends, reflect on the year just passed, and make audacious goals for the new year. Have fun and enjoy yourself!