By: Grace Bruening – Health Columnist
And now, let the holiday season temptations begin.
On Thanksgiving, you have a day where you indulge and allow yourself to dive into those mashed potatoes and gravy until you slip into a food coma for hours, but Christmas is another thing entirely. It isn’t just one day where you indulge. The holiday season lasts from before Christmas Eve, until we return to school or work in January. If there isn’t a day when you’re not surrounded by sugar cookies, brownies, candy canes, eggnog or more, you’re not doing the holidays right. However, just because you’re surrounded by these temptations, doesn’t mean you have to let the Santa cookies win the battle. It is possible to indulge in your favorite delectable foods, but not let it sabotage your healthy lifestyle.
Let me share with you my simple tips that get me through the holidays:
Save your calories for the special holiday treats
How many times a year are you offered cute little gingerbread men or your grandma’s homemade cheesecake? Probably only once a year, so choose those deserts to indulge in, instead of store-bought cookies with icing you can get any other day of the year.
Focus on fun, not food
Yes, they typically go hand-in-hand, but I’ve been guilty of letting food distract me from having fun with family I only see once or twice a year. I’m going to make a goal to focus more on immersing myself in old and new family traditions that don’t have to revolve around food.
One of the lessons that has had the biggest impact on my health journey is planning ahead. I used to throw myself into the holidays hoping for the best and trying to not binge and ruin everything I worked for. Now, I’m patient with myself. I allow myself to indulge because I know I’m going to anyways. Don’t restrict yourself all day- be honest with yourself.
Whether this is a habit of yours or a new goal, staying active is extremely important during the holidays. However, don’t work out because you want to burn off those five bites of cheesecake. Work out to feel good about yourself and have a clear mind throughout the holidays. Releasing those endorphins can just do the trick in successfully meeting your goals during the holidays.
Eat your veggies
Not only do they offer a countless amount vitamins and minerals, they offer the most important nutrient around the holidays: fiber. Fiber from raw vegetables will keep you full and allow you to only eat until you’re full. Offer to bring a veggie tray to the holiday parties and eat a small plate before the meal.
Stay away from the stretchy pants
Ah, the ones that are always there for you when you’ve eaten more than your stomach can handle. We all love them, but these pants are practically an invitation to overeat. Leave the roomy pants behind and opt for skinny jeans, a slim-fit suit, or a tight dress to resist going back for thirds. Bonus: you’ll look hot while doing it!
Water, water and some more water
Hydration is key, friends! Just like veggies, water keeps you full so you don’t eat more than your body can handle. It also flushes out the toxins and keeps you feeling your best! How much should you drink? Half of your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70 ounces of water each day.
Try the “fork trick”
One thing I struggle with when it comes to holiday eating is knowing how much food I’m eating, and when to stop. To help gauge how much you’re consuming, try this trick: Once you take a bite of food, place your fork down on the plate, and let go of the fork. Chew your food, swallow, and then pick up your fork again. The key to this trick is actually letting go of the fork. This will remind you to slow down, enjoy your food, and converse with friends and family.
Sweat it out on New Year’s
This is a very valuable lesson I learned from my grandpa, someone who always put health first. He taught me that starting the New Year with a killer workout will set the tone for the rest of the year. And I’m sure you’ll need to sweat out all those alcoholic beverages you consumed the night before…if you’re 21, of course.
These are tips that I use to get me through the holiday season without feeling bloated when I get back to school and I hope they can help you out too! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @fitnotskinnny to keep up during the holidays! Have a FIT, not skinny, holiday season!
Photo by Grace Bruening.