As we plow head on into the holiday season, it can become increasingly difficult to maintain a fitness and nutrition program. The dark, cold days combined with increased presence of delectable, edible treats can threaten to derail even the most disciplined among us. Here are a few tips for surviving this “Season of Eating”:
Strive for “Better”
Resist thinking about food as “good” or “bad”. Rather ask, “what might be the better choice?” If you are the one doing the cooking, shoot for a “better” green bean casserole or sweet potato recipe (a quick Google search will reveal all sorts of options). When confronted with a table of food, do not view any as “good” or “bad”. Simply look for the “better” options and try to fill your plate with those first. If you are presented with the option of pie or other dessert, look for the smaller piece, or the one with less frosting. A whole bunch of these little “better” choices add up and could be the difference between maintaining and gaining weight this holiday season.
Focus on Addition rather than Subtraction
Focus on adding MORE of the healthier options rather than telling yourself you CANNOT have something. Focus on eating MORE veggies and lean protein rather than telling yourself you cannot have carbs. Start with a big plate of salad, veggies, and turkey, and if you are still hungry (or you still have room), have a little of the “other stuff”. Focus on drinking MORE water, rather than telling yourself you cannot have eggnog or wine. For every alcoholic beverage you drink, have a full glass of water between. Focus on more “better”, rather than less or no “bad”.
Eat Slowly and Mindfully
Another tip for surviving this “season of eating” is to simply slow down. When eating, chew your food completely and swallow before taking another bite. Set your utensils down and take a sip of water between each bite. Slowing down allows us to be more aware of when we are reaching a state of fullness. Take it a step further and eliminate distractions whenever possible – turn off the television, put down the phone, put the computer on sleep, avoid eating while driving. Not just at mealtime, but also when snacking. Slow down and be mindful of what you are putting in your body. Again, no “good” or “bad”, just be aware of what you are eating.
Staying active during the winter can prove challenging, particularly with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Time seems to pass more quickly as we draw closer to year end and our workouts can often fall to the bottom of the priority list. Making time to get outside, even for short periods (10-20 minutes), particularly after a meal, can have a positive impact on both your physical and mental wellbeing. Take a quick walk around the block after lunch, or get the family and dog bundled up after dinner for a quick walk down the street and back. The rush of cold air and elevation of heart rate can be invigorating! A post-meal walk can also aid in the digestive process.
Hopefully these tips will help you not only survive, but also enjoy this “season of eating”!