Whatever you’re planning this holiday, it’s probably not packing on a few extra pounds. Yet that’s what 46% of Americans do this time of year, and it’s easy to see why. Somewhere in the spirit of festivity and fulfillment, the holidays have become synonymous with overindulgence. Everywhere you turn, someone is encouraging you to have a little more of this; try some of that; don’t worry about it — it’s the holidays!
But hope is not lost. It is possible to celebrate the season without inflating your waistline. Armed with a few important defenses, you can stay satisfied, energized and health-wise.
Bring something (light) to the table
If leafy vegetable and omega fatty acids were evocative of warmth and happiness, we wouldn’t have a problem. We might even find we dropped a couple inches by the New Year. But for some reason brocollini and fresh salmon don’t come to mind when we’re dishing up a menu for good cheer. Pumpkin pie and eggnog? Now that’s a party. Try to plan for all the calorie-laden dishes that will be pushed your way this year. When you’re headed to a dinner or a party, volunteer to bring a dish of your own, and make it something that won’t leave you feeling guilty for days. Salads, green bean casseroles, baked or grilled chicken and baked yams are healthy alternatives that are still in the vein of festivity. If you know you’ll be subject to candy and baked goods at work, bring some of your own. Not all sweets are created equal. You can contribute low-fat cookies and cakes made of angel food that won’t leave your stomach growling (or your co-workers groaning). Long ago, Thanksgiving tables were laden with cornucopias of fruits and vegetables and fresh, simply prepared foods. There’s no reason you can’t honor tradition and your health by bringing the feast with you this season.
Enough is enough
The holidays don’t have to be a sentence for stuffing yourself with stuffing. The harvest was a celebration that everyone had enough to eat, not an excuse to overeat. With all the baking and snacking and feasting, it’s hard to know when one meal ends and the next one begins. Take cues from your body. Stop when you are full. Better yet, stop before you’re full — your body takes an hour or so to register what you’ve eaten. Aunt Betty will have to understand; one meal just isn’t worth the weeks it’ll take to work off. Be aware of all those unnoticed extras. A taste here and a snack there, and you’ve consumed hundreds of extra calories without realizing it. The reality is, food isn’t as enjoyable once you’re already full. The holidays are hardly a time for dieting, but that’s no reason to bring on the extra meals and heaping portions. Stop early; feel energized, and enjoy the leftovers!
All that traveling, visiting and celebration can wreak havoc on your schedule, especially your workout routine. Plan ahead, and schedule ways to keep moving. If you are visiting with family, try to get them in on the action. The holidays don’t have to be a limitation. They can actually be an opportunity to find more ways to get your heart rate up. You’ve probably got a few days off of work, you’re trying to find ways to entertain people, and you need to keep your energy up for a full schedule of festivities. Go for a walk or jog to take in the sites (or show them off to your in-laws). Step up the pace on the holiday shopping, and pencil a little yoga time in later to decompress. Don’t take a vacation from your health; it could be the gift you need the most this season!
|Overwhelmed by the holidays — even though they’re not quite here yet? Call 1.800.573.4830 or click here now.|