It’s the holiday season, and if you’re like most people you’ve become busier and find you have less free time. As a result, good habits that have been gained over the year may go by the wayside. To make matters worse, temptation is everywhere with yummy goodies to eat.
This time of year can be challenging for most of us. You find yourself attending more parties and family gatherings, running around on your free time to shop and prepare, consuming excess food and beverages, and exercising less. This can be a recipe for falling off the wagon with healthy habits, and often leads to weight gain that sticks around long after the holidays.
And over time, that can affect more than just your waistline. The relationship between diet, weight and disease has been well-established. Remember that two-thirds of all cancers are related to diet and lifestyle.
Here are some ways to deck the halls without ditching your waistline this holiday season:
1. Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t leave cookies, candy or other treats out on your kitchen counter, table or anywhere else that is easily seen and accessible.
2. Be mindful not mindless. Concentrate on meals as you are eating. Pay attention to food choices, how you fill your plate, and the number of high calorie foods at the meal.
3. Limit portion size of high calorie foods. Enjoy treats in moderation. You do not have to necessarily refrain from eating holiday foods – just put a boundary on the portion size.
4. Don’t drink your calories. Avoid sugar sweetened beverages (like soda, lemonade, iced tea), juices, drink mixers. Opt for unsweetened iced tea, seltzer, or water instead. At holiday parties, limit alcohol to one small drink at the most.
5. Make substitutions whenever possible. It’s possible to alter your favorite holiday recipes to have less sugar or fat, by substituting some of the ingredients. For example using lite butter instead of regular butter in a recipe, using low-fat sour cream in a dip, or adding less sugar than the recipe may call for.
6. Improve one or two habits. Reflect upon some of your less healthy habits (what you usually eat at holiday meals or when dining out) and make a few changes. For example, avoid the bread at the next holiday meal, have water instead of soda, have a half portion or share dessert.
7. Fill half of your plate with vegetables at holiday meals, potlucks and office parties. This can help fill you up and leave less room on the plate for the high calorie options. It will save a lot of excess calories, and help you feel fuller longer so you can avoid the temptation to overeat.
8. Exercise. This is important not just for maintaining weight, but for your overall health. Keep up with your regular exercise routine. If you don’t currently workout, it’s never too late to start.
9. Don’t leave the house hungry. Try to eat your meal at home before going shopping. Bring along a healthy snack and bottled water to help you avoid the temptation to grab fast food. For holiday parties, eat a snack or light meal beforehand so that you’re not tempted to overindulge.
10. Enlist a pro for help. Need help accomplishing your weight loss and fitness goals? You don’t need to go it alone! I’m here to help you every step of the way. Contact me today and I’ll create a customized plan that works for YOU — AND I’ll personally help you stay on track!
Sources include Newswise; Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; American Heart AssociationLet's stay in touch! Subscribe to receive my weekly newsletter of helpful articles, recipes and inspiration.