Willpower and the holidays don’t mix. You’ll make it up in January, you tell yourself. But you know you’re going to hate how you feel all month – heavy, stagnant, and bloated. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember these key words, all starting with S.
Sleep: You eat to keep going, especially sweet foods that give you instant energy. So being well-rested is the first step to avoid over-indulging this holiday season.
Snack: Rather than skipping a meal and saving up the calories for the party tonight, eat your meals as you normally would, especially breakfast. People who skip breakfast tend to eat heavier later in the day. So eat balanced and stabilize your blood sugars from the start of the day. Then select a smart snack right before the big event so that your appetite is reduced and you can make wiser choices about the holiday fare.
Supply: Offer to bring a dish to that dinner party you’ve been invited to. When you control the ingredients, you can insure they’re calorie light and nutrient dense.
Select: Be picky about what you eat. Avoid fillers, like rolls. Use the buffet spread as an opportunity to go for the healthiest options. Give yourself permission to NOT clean your plate at the catered event. Stick to the basics: some protein, plenty of vegetables, a bit of complex carbohydrate.
Slow down: You will eat less if you take time between each bite and don’t line up for seconds before your satiety receptors have had time to register your fullness. Wait 10 minutes between courses.
Savor: Be mindful of the tastes, fragrances, and textures. Chew thoroughly, and allow yourself to be satiated without gobbling.
Sit: You should never eat on the run any time of year. But especially during this season, be present with your companions and remember that the gathering is more about the purpose and the people than the food.
Small Sizes: Try using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. Special occasion food is often very rich. It takes very little to fill your nutritional requirement, so there is no need to super-size your servings.
Sip: Beverages often contain a lot of empty calories. It is smart to take only tiny doses of the drinks. For actual thirst, use plain water.
Skate, ski, stride, shovel, or sled: Staying active throughout the month will help keep your metabolism from becoming sluggish. Take the stairs whenever possible, and fit in 2 or 3 walking sessions of 10 minutes each throughout the day.
Substitute: Instead of making those goodies for the neighbors that you will snitch from, consider more wholesome food options: a soup mix in a jar, a dry rub packet, herbal teas, giardiniera, or granola.
Smile: Last of all, ditch the guilt, and simply feel all the love, gratitude, and cheer that surrounds you.