The holidays are definitely full of some of our favorite treats, both sweet and savory. This is the time of year where we tend to bring out our stretchy pants and big sweaters to hide the many slices of pumpkin pie we over-indulge in from the moment the first fall leaf hits the ground.
Goals to “Get Fit” fly out the window as soon as the last summer swim at the pool is over. Our minds just completely switch gears for some reason. But wouldn’t it be nice to stay in shape all throughout the fall and winter months so we’re not having to literally work our butts off when swimsuit season creeps on us next time?
Here are a few simple tips that are sure to help you to not gain that holiday weight this year.
1. Hold out for the Good Stuff – There are going to be a lot of options when it comes to food. Some of these options will be things you love and just can’t live without. And some of it will just be “meh.” Aunt Mable’s jiggly mystery dessert that you can’t quite figure out? Definitely no need to waste your calories there. A dish that your family makes year-round regardless of the holidays? Pass on that one and save room for something you will only get once a year.
2. Don’t be Tempted by the Pretty Colors – You know what I mean. The Oreos filled with orange cream. The green and red M&M’s. The cookies coated in holiday-colored sprinkles. They are all made to entice you to eat them all right now. They are tricking you into thinking that you can only get this taste once a year. Half the time, the holiday Oreos are still the same flavor. Same with the M&M’s. And sprinkles. Well, that’s just added sugar and artificial dyes! Don’t feed into the hype. Either remind yourself that it all just tastes the same as the plain-colored dessert or buy a bunch of the holiday variety and spread it out all year long so you don’t feel the need to eat ALL.THE.COLORS at once. Sure, that sugar cookie may look remarkably festive, but I promise you that you’ll be able to enjoy one that tastes exactly the same any other time of the year.
3. Sign up for a Holiday-Related Race – There’s the Turkey Trot. The Santa Run. The Cocoa 5k. Lots of fun holiday-themed racing events that are sure to keep you on track and focused on staying prepared and ready for your big run.
4. Outsmart the Buffet – Heading to a buffet for a holiday meal? Be sure to grab a small plate and make a couple rules for yourself. Only one trip up to the buffet, and you can’t stack food on top of each other in order to fit more on the plate. Stick to as many of the simple foods as you can. Salad, fruits, veggies, lean meats. Just watch out for the sauces and dips. That’s where it’s easy to get carried away.
5. Never Arrive Hungry – Eat something healthy before you even arrive. Getting to a big holiday dinner when you’re starving is an absolute recipe for disaster. And usually there aren’t quite enough healthy options at these dinners that you’ll feel better about giving yourself some real nutrients for the day.
6. Bring your own Treats & Dishes – If you’re contributing to dinner or dessert, you’ll be sure to make something that you feel comfortable eating, both in taste and in nutrients. You get to control the ingredients, so make it as healthy as you possibly can… it may be one of the only healthy dishes you’ll get to consume.
7. Don’t Beat Yourself Up – This won’t necessarily keep the weight gain at bay, but it’s still a very important part of the holidays to remember. The holidays are for enjoying, and food is a large part of the enjoyment. Allow a little indulging, and don’t beat yourself up if you happen to go a little overboard. Tomorrow is always a new day, and one day of eating lots of sweets isn’t going to ruin the hard work you do on the other days of the year.
I hope this holiday season, you’re able to enjoy yourself and your family while still staying healthy and on track. It’s so easy to just let go during the holidays, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Thanksgiving can be an extra stressful time for someone who struggles with food and eating issues. That’s why I created a Mini Thanksgiving Survival Guide.