But you also don’t need to eat an entire leg of ham.
The holiday season can be a stressful one, for various reasons! One one hand, its so much fun to celebrate with friends and family, but on the other hand, having so many commitments can be exhausting. Regardless, if healthy eating and lifestyle are a priority for you it can be hard to manage with so many opportunities to overeat and drink more alcohol than usual! For a lot of us, some of our favorite foods appear on the table during this season, and we feel a pressure to ‘get it all in’ because we won’t see them again until the next holiday season.
I’m not going to tell you that the key is to just hide in the corner with a salad and drink only sparkling water.
Or to tell your Grandmother that you can’t eat her homemade cookies because ‘sugar is bad for you’.
I’m also not going to tell you to do an extreme diet from now until the holidays to ‘make up for the holiday weight.’
The solution, like with everything, isn’t a drastic one.
What I AM going to tell you is this:
–Eat slowly and use a plate. A lot of holiday events are buffet or snack-style, with lots of different options to choose from. Eating directly from the buffet or from tray-passed appetizers can mean you end up eating a lot more than expected because you have no real way to measure your intake. Take a plate instead of picking right off the buffet, or keep the cocktail toothpicks from each appetizer to keep track of what you are consuming. If eating a sit down meal, remember to put your fork down between each bite!
–Choose your treats wisely. If possible, check out ALL of your options before you start adding food to your plate. You can usually tell which options are the healthiest if you actually take the time to check it out: for example, skewers of grilled meat or fruit, usually a good choice… fried croquettes or options covered in a sauce… not the best. If you LOVE a certain dish, make sure to enjoy some of it, but try to begin with some lean protein and vegetable options if you can. Choose homemade over store bought, all the time. Grandma’s cookies? Totally worth it. Pie from the grocery store? Skip it.
–Drink water… and don’t forget about vegetables. It can be hard to choose water when the alcohol is flowing! If you are heading to an event, set yourself some limits ahead of time. And no matter what, always alternate water with alcohol. Ask for sparkling water with a slice of lime or lemon if you decide to cut yourself off- it looks like a cocktail and no one will know the difference. Although most of the time you can’t control what is served at a holiday event, you CAN control what you eat for the rest of the day. Make sure that you keep a high intake of fruit and vegetables in all of your other meals.
-Stay moving! Sometimes its just too hard to make it to the gym when there are parties or events almost every day of the week. That doesn’t mean that exercise can be forgotten until January. Even just a quick walk or a fast at-home workout (check out my Instagram page for some great no-equipment workout options!) can make a difference. You might even try switching up your workout schedule- if you know you can’t make it after work, try going to an early class, or heading out for a morning run. You can always be the first person to break the ice on the dancefloor at your company holiday party! I know it sounds silly, but even SOMETHING is better than NOTHING.
…And if things just don’t go to plan, don’t punish yourself.
Overeating one night and then following it with a super strict diet of water and celery the next day is just going to start a cycle of restriction that can make you feel worse, and doesn’t actually help you at all. Wake up the next day. Drink some water. Move your body. Eat a healthy breakfast (hopefully with a vegetable or two!), and go on with your life.
The holiday season is all about enjoying time with the people in your life, and part of that is sharing food and drink with them. Even if you eat or drink a bit too much on one or two occasions over the holiday season, it’s not that big of a deal. However, if overeating one day turns the whole month into a hurricane of Christmas cookies, that is a problem! Remember, what you do MOST of the time matters more than what you do every once in a while.