The holiday season seems to start with thankfulness and cheer, and end with bloat and regret. Let’s keep that from happening this year!
I’m a firm believer that we all should enjoy food, enjoy the holidays, and in particular, enjoy food on holidays. Your diet should never keep you from celebrating. However, some years the holiday season is so jammed-packed with family dinners, leftovers, work parties, and drinks with friends, that something has just has got to give.
Be mindful when you’re in social situations that involve food. Are you snacking on those finger foods because you’re really enjoying them, or just because they’re there? Is that second helping of mashed potatoes going to make you uncomfortably full? Do you really need that third glass of eggnog? These questions may seem obvious and silly, but so many times we don’t think before we eat. Ask yourself, “Do I really want this?” before taking a bite. If the answer is yes, great – enjoy that food! If not, step away. If you really want a second helping or a dessert, but you’re already feeling full, don’t force it in. Ask if you can take home leftovers – often times hosts are happy to get rid of the overwhelming amount of food they still have once everyone has left.
Consider switching up what’s on the menu. The holidays are a time for family traditions, so don’t feel that you have to overhaul everything and give up all of Grandma’s high fat recipes. Think about what you’re willing to give up though. Do you really need stuffing, mashed potatoes, a sweet potato casserole and bread at Thanksgiving? Could you skip out on one this year? What about roasted green beans with some salt and pepper rather than a full-fledged green bean casserole? Are 15 kinds of Christmas cookies really necessary? Any small changes you make to recipes such as adding less butter or using milk instead of cream are going to add up.
Think about increasing your exercise during the holiday season. In all reality, you’re probably not going to eat perfectly from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Adding some extra physical activity will help burn off some of these additional calories. Go to the gym one additional day per week or take the stairs instead of the elevator when you’re at work. Do what you can to burn more calories during this timeframe. Your waistline will thank you!