Truth is, when you're trying to eat healthy, a holiday coming up can seem overwhelming!
You want to enjoy visiting family & friends, but you don't necessarily want to jump off the healthy-living-bandwagon either! It is easy though (really, really easy!) to get caught up in eating 'til it hurts, trying every creamy, fatty, salty & tasty thing you see, and topping it all off with a glass or two (or bottle) of wine! Whomp whomp.
There are ways to get through, ya just need to keep your head screwed on tight, and stay calm! : )
Follow me while I offer you 5 tips to help you get through the holiday season without loosing your mind (or waistline)!
Going to someones house in the evening where you'll be having a feast, or meeting up with friends at a restaurant? Then consider not eating a monster breakfast & lunch first!
It can be a bad idea to show up starving because then you might be inclined to scarf down every morsel you see, but showing up already thoroughly fed, then feeling like it'll be rude to not eat dinner (and dessert) can leave you overly full of food and calories.
And, knowing what might be for dinner can help you decide what things to eat beforehand. Eating raw fruits and veggies during the day can help you get the nutrients you need that you may not get at dinner, and they won't leave you feeling stuffed and uncomfortable!
Lastly, be prepared to say no! Don't be mean, but you don't have to eat everything that is offered to you! You can politely say "no thank-you".
Make a Healthy Contribution
Going to a pot luck? Bring a tray of veggies or fruit! They aren't always something people think to bring, but in my experience, they always get eaten up! And make it a good colourful tray of food, it gives lots of variety and ensures everyone finds something they like. And, it means you know you'll be getting a serving or two of goodness!
It may seem like a boring contribution, but it will be appreciated. Take the healthy tray a step further by offering a healthier dip like hummus, guacamole, or try one of these 5 dips from Body Building.com, and don't even bother with fruit dip! What the heck?! Fruit is natures candy, and you need a dip for it? I think not. Good golly. I feel strongly about fruit dip being ridiculous, but if you insist on having it, try to whip up a healthy version like mixing greek yogurt, honey and cinnamon together. But I still think it's ridiculous.
Bringing these may also help you if there are a bunch of pre-dinner snacks and appetizers, and will give you a healthy option to mix in with the hors d'oeuvres or candied nuts you may sample.
One last note, if you're short on time or ambition, both veggie and fruit trays can be purchased at grocery stores, all ready for you! And if you have time, ambition, and don't want to bring something "boring", there are many ways to make a fruit or veggie tray amazing! Check out some of those amazing images above!
Plan to Enjoy
If you say, "I am not going to eat ANY sweets tonight!"....you probably will. Thumbs down. The thumbs down is not because you couldn't resist, but that you're now lugging around guilt over a failed healthy eating attempt, and that guilt could lead you to keep making bad choices because, "you've already messed up".
Well, my dear friend, stop that! I said stop it! : )
Try telling yourself instead, "I know there will be lots of dessert there tonight, and I love chocolate, so I will try a chocolate dessert if there is one that looks great!", or, "I love cheesecake, so if there is one I'll have a slice!". Make it part of your plan, your first draft, black and white plan. Not your emergency, all systems failing plan! The holidays often bring out specific desserts or foods that are special, so keep those in mind too. Instead of inhaling that store bought cookie you can literally buy any time you wanted, enjoy the amazing pumpkin pie your aunt brings, or buttery & beautifully frosted shortbread cookies (my weakness!)
You know what makes off-limits food seem super-duper irresistible? Telling yourself you can't have any of them! It's true! Studies have shown that feeling deprived (even if you are well fed) can lead to over-eating! Geepers!
Be kind to yourself, show yourself some grace, and plan to enjoy some treats. SOME treats, not ALL the treats. :) ....I am talking to my own sweet tooth....
If you drink wine, don't use a jumbo wine glass if you can help it, A huge glass looks sad half-full, but a smaller glass looks more satisfying filled to the top! It can still be a 6 oz serving, but they will have a different effect on your mind and how you see it. You feel like you are enjoying a nice full glass of wine, which will leave you feeling more satisfied with it. The photo above shows a 6oz serving of wine in different glasses, and you can see the difference! Also, I know there are "rules" about which glass is for which type of wine....but let's be honest, unless you're a wine connoisseur (which most of us are not!), you won't really notice the difference!
If you enjoy a mixed drink, try it in a tumbler instead of in a tall glass. You will be drinking just a little less liquor, and less mix too. And while we're at it, try having your mix with ice and water, carbonated water (otherwise known as soda water, club soda, sparkling water, or fizzy water). There are even quite a few types of fruit flavoured fizzy waters that don't contain any added sugar and make a nice alternative if you really dislike plain carbonated water. A real fruit, no sugar added fruit juice is also a better choice than (soda) pop or artificial, full of sugar juice.
If you have the option, beers, ciders or anything out of a can or bottle can be poured into a glass. Taking the time to pour the drink into a glass helps you stop and take notice of your actions and be a little more mentally aware of your drinking.
And don't forget to drink water! Try your darndest to alternate between alcohol & water as this will keep you from drinking too much, and will help you feel better the next day!
And, of course, be sure to fit in some exercise!
It can seem difficult to find the time or motivation, but take 10-15 minutes to do a HIIT workout, or go for an after dinner walk with family, just find something you can do to help your body get moving and feeling it's best!
I created the workout above with maximum sweat in mind! It's a tough one! Some of the moves may be unfamiliar (like butt kickers or the extreme mule kick-it's my new favourite move!), but do your best, if you don't know what something is, do something similar (like a regular ab crunch instead of a v-sit) push yourself, and you'll be glad you did!
Most important during this time is to be realistic. Life gets turned upside down, and your usual food & exercise plan will shaken up! Don't expect to eat a completely clean diet while visiting your best-baker-in-the-world sister, or most-amazing-deep-fried turkey uncle! Don't expect to be able to go for a 1 hour bike ride when you've got all your family over, or plan a 2 hour gym excursion when you are out of town visiting family or friends! Maybe you will manage to do those things, but there is a better chance you won't!
Be prepared for glitches, be prepared for temptations, be prepared for peer pressure, be prepared to feel lazy and tired, but be prepared to do your holiday best! Not your usual best, but your holiday best! There is a difference!
Above all else, enjoy whatever the holiday season means to you and your family. Whether it's simple or complex, fancy or not so much, just take the time to appreciate whatever Christmas offers you. And be sure to look at what you can offer Christmas! Giving & sharing, offering peace and joy, these are parts of Christmas you can give away to anyone and everyone. Smiling at someone, holding the door open, just putting others first during this hectic season can make the season bright!
It's Me, Amy-Lyn!
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