HO HO HO...or Gobble Gobble!
The holiday season is notoriously the most difficult time of the year to stick to diet and exercise plans.
From the holiday sales rush that characterizes the season, to gift shopping and the last-minute preparations, sometimes fitness and health just take a back seat.
This, however, is problematic for several reasons.
How many times have you taken your foot off the gas during the latter part of the year, only to start over as part of your New Year's resolution, again and again?
Yes, we know that life gets in the way sometimes. But a strong argument can be made for preparation.
If you're heading on vacation, the challenges can be even greater, but the good news is that it's not impossible to maintain healthy eating.
Wondering what you can do to stay on track this year? We've got you covered.
Make a Plan - Know What You're Going to Eat and When You're Going to Cheat During the Holiday Season
The holiday season is a time for celebrations and indulgences, but it can also be a time of stress and weight gain. If you're trying to stay healthy during the holidays, it's important to have a plan.
First, take inventory of all your holiday parties and events. Make a list of all the occasions where you'll be tempted to overindulge.
Then, try to decide in advance what you're going to eat at each event. Will you allow yourself one small dessert, or will you go for a more moderate approach? Once you know what you're going to eat, stick to your plan. If you do decide to cheat, don't beat yourself up about it.
Just get back on track with your healthy eating habits the next day. By making a plan and being mindful of your choices, you can enjoy the holiday season and all the good food it brings without packing on the pounds.
Stay Away From The Tempting Foods - Out of Sight, Out of Mind
When it comes to resisting temptation, the old saying "out of sight, out of mind" can be very effective. If you're trying to avoid unhealthy snacks or limit your portion sizes and you still find it challenging, it's helpful to keep those tempting foods out of reach altogether.
Putting them on a high shelf or in a cupboard that's hard to reach will make them less likely to catch your eye, and as a result, you'll be less likely to indulge.
Of course, this strategy won't work if your kitchen is already crammed full of tempting treats. In that case, it may be necessary to get rid of some of those foods altogether. If they're not in the house, you won't be able to eat them! So if you're serious about avoiding temptation, it's important to create a healthy environment for yourself by getting rid of any trigger foods and also making healthier options available.
Hunger will derail any plans you might have made for yourself, so ALWAYS have alternatives available.
Find a Friend or Family Member Who is Also Trying to Stick To Their Diet During The Holidays
The holidays are a tough time for solo dieters. Imagine your entire family and social family having the time of their lives, and you being a reclusive eater.
There are temptations everywhere, from rich foods to office parties to holiday gatherings. It can be hard to stay on track when everyone around you is indulging.
That's why it's important to find a friend or family member who is also trying to diet. You can support each other during the holidays and help each other stay on track.
Make sure you both have realistic goals, plan ahead for tempting situations, and be prepared to make compromises. With a little planning and support, you can make it through the holidays without blowing your diet and still maintain your willpower.
Drink Lots of Water and Avoid Sugary Drinks Before and During Holidays Dinners
It's hard enough to remember to drink water on a normal day. During the holidays, this can be multiplied several-fold. We know that dehydration is no fun, not only does it make you feel miserable physically, but mentally as well.
To avoid this, be sure to drink lots of water leading up to holiday dinners. And, if you know you'll be indulging in some alcoholic beverages, try to offset these by drinking extra water throughout the day. Also, avoid sugary drinks like sodas and juices, as these can contribute to dehydration. Instead, opt for sparkling water or seltzer with a slice of citrus. By staying hydrated, you'll be able to fully enjoy all the holiday cheer.
If you think that's all water is good for, however, you'd be wrong. Did you know that water is a strong appetite suppressant? Drinking a decent amount of water leading up to your meal can reduce consumption by as much as 40%.
That means consuming 40% fewer calories. During the holidays, these savings can be huge, as calorie-heavy meals are the norm.
Get Enough Sleep - Being Tired Makes it Harder To Resist Cravings
Most people have experienced the feeling of being exhausted and wanting nothing more than to indulge in a sugary treat or a big helping of comfort food. While it may seem like a harmless indulgence, being tired can actually make it harder to resist unhealthy cravings.
When we’re tired, our bodies produce more of the hormone ghrelin, which is known to increase appetite. At the same time, levels of leptin, the hormone that signals satiety, drop.
Then, there's also a reflex increase in the stress hormone cortisol. And let's not mention the disruption in levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
This combination can leave us feeling hungrier and less able to control our cravings. So if you’re trying to eat healthily, make sure to get enough sleep. Getting quality shut-eye will help to keep your hormones and brain neurotransmitters in balance and make it easier to stick to your healthy eating goals.
Maintain Exercise- It Helps Burn Off Those Excess Calories
Do not stop exercising or performing physical activity during the holiday season. Yes, limiting what you eat during the season is of paramount importance, but chances are high that you'll still be consuming way more calories than you're used to.
This is why it is important to maintain some form of exercise or physical activity throughout the holidays. It doesn't have to be anything too strenuous, but something that helps to keep your metabolism going and burns off those excess calories.
With many places experiencing colder weather during these seasons, the avenues for physical activity might be even fewer.
A brisk walk around the block or even a light jog should do the trick, given that it isn't snowing too heavily outside.
Even better if you can maintain your usual workout routine and keep missed days to a minimum during the season. Always remember that muscle mass is the driver of your metabolic rate, so supporting it by consuming Essential Amino Acids before, during, or after your workout will help them rebuild stronger as well.
Eating Out? Check Restaurant Menus Beforehand
If you're eating out during the holidays, it's always a good idea to check the restaurant menus beforehand. This way, you can have an idea of what healthy options are available and plan accordingly.
When looking at menus, try to find dishes that are high in protein and fiber and low in unhealthy fats and simple carbohydrates. These types of foods will help to fill you up and keep you satisfied, without all the extra calories.
And if you're at a buffet-style restaurant, be sure to fill up your plate with mostly healthy choices and limit yourself to small portions of the less healthy options. By following these tips, you can enjoy eating out without derailing your healthy diet and maintaining those important social connections.
Eat Something Before Going Out
What happens in a worst case scenario? Such as if you can't find a menu online, or when you get there, healthy eating options just aren't available.
Before you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is to eat something before you go out. This way, you're not arriving at the restaurant starving and more likely to make unhealthy choices.
You don't need to eat a full meal, but having a low-calorie, bulky type snack works great. Think of veggies that can be eaten raw in a pinch.
These fill you up quickly, quash your appetite, and give you the energy needed to resist all those unhealthy holiday temptations. Our Field Of Greens superfood mix can help you meet your daily recommendations for fruits and veggies without the calories.
Keep Snacks Handy
With many people having less time available to actually make healthy food options during the holiday season, packing simple healthy snacks can go a very far way in keeping your nutrition on point.
Think of food such as hard-boiled eggs, nuts, and seeds, yogurt, whole grain crackers, and fruits and vegetables as your go-to snacks. These foods are all very easy to grab and go, and they will help to keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals.
Having these kinds of snacks on hand will also help to prevent you from mindlessly snacking on unhealthy foods when you’re feeling hungry or overeating at dinner.
A scoop of Radiance collagen protein mixed in water can also deliver important protein and suppress cravings in a pinch and should be taken advantage of.
Many people are guilty of this; being unable to eat slowly and truly enjoy and savor their food. Constantly being in go mode means that the fastest way to swallow your grub might seem like the best, but few people appreciate how eating speed relates to satiety.
Slowing down your pace of eating allows the stomach to send impulses to the brain that it is getting full. When we eat too quickly, our stomachs can’t keep up and we often end up overeating.
Besides potentially leading to weight gain, eating too quickly can also put you at risk for developing GERD or other gastrointestinal issues, and trust us- the holiday season is the worst time to have to make an ER visit.
We know it sounds cliché, but is there another convenient way to really get a gauge on how your efforts are doing this holiday season?
Taking your body weight at least once weekly can give you an indication if your healthy habits are paying off or if you need to reign things back in a bit.
This will also give you something to look forward to- seeing that number drop or stay the same as you continue making smart choices day after day and week after week.
Putting It Together
The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, but it can be tough to stay on track with your diet and fitness goals. By following the tips above, you can make healthy choices without feeling deprived.
Remember to focus on moderation, eat before going out, keep snacks handy, and slow down while eating.
And don't forget to weigh yourself regularly to stay motivated. With a little effort, you can enjoy the holidays and stay healthy at the same time!