Thanksgiving is done, Christmas is near, and here we are right in the midst of festivities before the year ends. The temptations and stress that come with the holidays just seem to be the perfect excuse to put aside our healthy habits and celebrate the great food coming our way.
However, that doesn’t have to be the case. With the right focus, we can counter the challenges brought about by party prep and get-togethers and keep our healthy habits from slipping.
You can avoid working double time on your diet and exercise next year with these tips.
1. Set your mind on what matters.
Thanksgiving and Christmas should be a time to reflect, celebrate and reconnect with people we love. Although reunions usually involve food, what’s more important is that we strengthen our relationships and make memories through our times together.
Be extra wary of laziness and other weaknesses when it comes to food and exercise, which inevitably leads to the next step.
2. Make a plan to “eat defensively.”
Holidays are when you get invited to many gatherings. You can be mentally prepared if you familiarize yourself with the following pointers:
- When invited to a meal that is set later than your usual lunch or dinner time, eating a small snack beforehand keeps you from pigging out when the actual meal comes. Binge-eating can cause your blood sugar levels to shoot up.
- The principle of snacking is also helpful before you shop. This will prevent you from buying salty or sweet treats due to craving.
- During buffets, using a small plate will help you limit your food portions. Starting with vegetable dishes lets you feel full faster. Sitting far from the buffet table will also prevent you from binging. It’s wise to eat less carbohydrate-rich food such as pasta, potatoes, and bread if you plan to indulge in sweets. It’s better to survey the array of desserts then choose just one or two that you like the best instead of sampling each of them.
- Take a 10-minute break after your first helping of food. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize that your stomach is full.
- Drink plenty of water and try to limit alcoholic drinks. Having liquor on an empty stomach increases your appetite.
3. Don’t forego your exercise.
Workouts don’t have to stop when the weather outside does not cooperate. Try working out at the community gym or do brisk walking around the mall.
You can also encourage family members to stay healthy during the holidays by taking a walk after eating together or between the main meal and dessert.
4. Get enough shuteye.
Sleeping only for a few hours the night before can make you crave sweets or fatty foods, then overindulge the following day. Choose which party or outing invitations to accept and make sure to have adequate sleep and prevent your immune system from dipping.
5. Monitor your habits and don’t give up.
Use a calendar to keep track of how often you exercise and how many calories you consumed over the holidays. There may be a day or two when you’re unable to do what you set out to do. Don’t berate yourself. Instead, check the lessons you’ve learned and set new goals that will help you move forward.