10 Tips for Staying Healthy Around the Holidays

It’s not what you do from Thanksgiving to New Year’s that makes or breaks your fitness plan.

It’s what you do consistently, day by day, from New Years to Thanksgiving that matters. A week or two of overindulgence out of 52 is NOT going to ruin your hard work. It’s more about making good choices when you can and keeping a balance.

Holidays are part of life and are meant to be enjoyed!

I see no value in berating yourself or in placing unrealistic demands on yourself. Making maintenance rather than weight loss the goal and quickly getting back on the plan is a better approach.

Special holiday treats and meals bring to mind cherished memories. The most important thing is to enjoy these times with your family. If you look forward to a particular favorite dish, eat it with relish and enjoy it thoroughly. Don’t eat it and feel guilty or beat yourself up because you overindulged. If you are going to eat then eat and enjoy.

That being said, since holidays can derail even the most disciplined of us, I’ve compiled tips to help you keep the damage to your fitness program and weight gain to an absolute minimum.

10 Tips for Staying Healthy Around the Holidays:

  1. Do This First:

Before you do anything else, drink a big glass of water and wait 20 minutes before eating anything. Mingle, say hello. This is a simple and an extremely effective way to curb your appetite and give yourself a sense of fullness before heading to the buffet table and is sure to make a difference in the amount of food you put on your plate. Plus drinking 8-16 oz. of water 20-30 minutes before a meal boosts metabolism by 30%!

  1. Keep Protein as Your First Choice:

Every buffet or dinner has some protein like beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, shrimp, and roast beef. Focus your meal on that to boost metabolism.

  1. Avoid Empty, Liquid Calories:

Liquid calories do nothing to increase satiety, and can very quickly do a lot of damage. If it has calories, don’t drink it, plain and simple. Choose plain water or water with a squeeze of lemon juice.

  1. Share Your “Wealth:”

Many times, the parties we attend are “potluck” buffet style where each person is responsible for bringing a dish to contribute to the menu. This is a marvelous opportunity for you to bring something healthy. Use your contribution as the basis of your meal, automatically making it more figure friendly for yourself and everyone else.

  1. Begin “Full:”

Don’t starve yourself all day before the party or dinner! Instead, eat breakfast and lunch and have a small protein shake or a snack like a handful of almonds or a few slices of turkey rolled in a lettuce leaf before you head out.

  1. Use a Smaller Plate:

A dessert sized plate, especially a white plate with a colored border, seems to trick us into thinking we are eating more than we really are.

  1. Big Fork, Fewer Bites:

Use a large fork, not a small dessert fork. Again, it seems to trick the mind into believing you are taking larger bites and so eating more food.

  1. Serve Yourself “Half:”

Fill up the small plate halfway and then take time to sit, eat slowly, savor, and enjoy what’s there. You have the option of being able to go back for more if you choose to! (A “faux” second helping!)

  1. If You Don’t Love It, Don’t Eat It:

Only choose those special holiday foods you must have and don’t get any other time of year. Don’t waste calories on things you can have anytime.

  1. Breathe, Chew, and Slow Down

Studies prove we consume 10% fewer calories when we eat slowly. Your brain needs time to register that you have satisfied your hunger. If you don’t fully experience the taste, smell, texture, and satisfaction from your meal, it interprets that missed experience as hunger even if you just filled your belly!

Take a few deep breaths before you begin eating and between bites. Just as a fire needs oxygen to burn, so does your metabolism!

Pray over your meal and thank God for the food and the company you are blessed to enjoy. Gratitude is healing and helps your digestion work optimally.

Bonus: Add Vinegar

One tablespoon of raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in 4 oz. of water before eating will help your body to metabolize excess sugar and keep insulin levels steady. It’s also great for avoiding gas, bloating and reflux!

Happy Healthy Holidays!

– Ann

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