With the eventful holiday season upon us, our lives seem to go into overdrive. Busy schedules, end-of-the-year work obligations and projects and preparing for the big day can derail our best intentions to eat well and go to the gym. With a little planning, though, you can hit the holidays running (pun intended) and beat the holiday fluff without feeling deprived.
Here are five tips to help:
Never go to a party on an empty stomach. It might seems silly to eat before you go to a cocktail party or dinner party. But if you go on a full stomach, you’ll be less likely to binge on the appetizers or eat too much during a meal. Too busy to eat beforehand? Shake up a protein shake at 200 calories or less, drink a glass of almond milk or grab a handful of cashews. In addition, make sure to drink a big glass of water before every party to hydrate and feel fuller longer.
Choose veggies and lean meats. Faced with multiple food choices at your holiday parties, pile up the veggies and lean meats first. At the same time, avoid too much of the high-fat dressings or artichoke dips. Volunteer to bring the crudités along with a healthy dip like hummus or a Greek yogurt dill dip to assure you’ll have some healthy options at the party.
Create a “speed bump” between cocktails. If you’re going to consume alcoholic beverages, drinking a large glass of water between cocktails not only bathes your body in needed hydration, but also slows the effects of alcohol. That in turn allows for more clear thinking and less drunken overeating. You’ll also thank me in the morning.
Just say no to sugar. Some researchers say refined sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Miraculously, when you don’t eat sugar, you don’t crave it. But once sugar is introduced into your system, you can’t seem to get enough. Your best best is to just stay off the sugar roller coaster this holiday season.
Make time for activities. So, your life’s too hectic to go to the gym? Make time for other types of active movement — take the stairs, park in the furthest lot while holiday shopping and grab the family or friends to go for a walk during gatherings. One of my favorite holiday activities is the mid-day Thanksgiving walk I take with my family. It’s a great opportunity to make connections, breathe some fresh air and get in some needed activity. Dust off that old pedometer or Fitbit and set a goal to walk at least 10,000 steps each day this holiday season.
Even with all the demands placed upon you during the holiday season, small, seemingly insignificant choices can help prevent that extra fluff. All it takes is a little planning and conscious decision making each day to treat yourself and your body with a little more love and respect.