Feeling and looking your best during the holiday season is about finding the right balance between resisting every dessert and eating all the delicious things in sight. Here are some steps to help you find that balance this holiday season.
SHIFT YOUR GOALS
Losing weight requires eating fewer calories than what you burn, which can be difficult with so many high-calorie goodies around. Rather than getting frustrated that you’re not losing weight, shift your focus to maintaining weight by eating approximately the same amount of calories that you’re burning each day.
DECIDE IF IT’S WORTH IT
It’s tough to be constantly surrounded by homemade cookies and treats at the office. Only indulge in those foods you really want. If it’s not a favorite, skip it!
LEARN TO SAY NO
If you’re offered a treat that you don’t deem “worth it,” have a go-to line for how to politely decline food to anyone putting pressure on you. No need to justify your actions. Just smile and say “no thank you, I’m not hungry right now,” and then redirect the conversation.
DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE HUNGRY
If you arrive at a dinner or party starving to death, it’s harder to make smart decisions. Drink lots of water and have a snack before you go so you can eat mindfully once you arrive.
MAKE A GAME PLAN FOR YOUR PLATE
Whether you’re at a buffet-style party or plated dinner, load up your plate with protein (turkey, chicken, fish) and vegetables first. Fill up on healthier options before going back for more calorie-dense sides or desserts.
Do your best to eat slowly. Have a conversation someone you haven’t seen in a while, or challenge yourself to put down your fork between bites. Load up your plate and then sit down to eat rather than standing near the food and grazing.
SET SOME RULES
Set some rules for yourself before you go to a social event. Limit your alcoholic beverages or commit to eating a full serving of vegetables before having dessert. Whatever your rule, stick to it. Ask a spouse, cousin, or friend to help keep you accountable if needed.
While there are no “bad” foods that you should avoid entirely, stay clear of foods that trigger you. If having a bite of your favorite chocolate cake will inevitably lead to eating multiple pieces, go for another dessert instead.
The holidays are busy, and it’s easy to skip exercise. Even if you can’t make it to the gym, try to stay active by going on a walk or spending time doing yoga or stretching at home.
Overindulging is sometimes inevitable. Don’t punish yourself with extra exercise or eat less the next day. Just brush it off and make the next day better!
Kate Lyman, MPH, CHES is owner and head coach of an online nutrition coaching business. She and her team at KLN believe in ditching restrictive diet rules and building flexible eating habits that allow you to eat the foods you enjoy while still working towards your aesthetic, performance, and health-related goals. She provides individualize and group nutrition coaching and also instructs corporate nutrition seminars. Get in touch at katelymannutrition.com or on follow along at @klnutrition.