As a follow up to last month’s Thanksgiving tips, we’d like to offer additional advice to keep you mindful of your health throughout the thick of the season. Being health conscious during the holidays can seem daunting when you’re having a stare down with all of the delicious foods on the dinner table…but, holiday celebrations do not have to be a stumbling block nor do you have to become side tracked from your fitness efforts.
Unless you have the resistance of a stone wall, you probably won’t be able to enter a holiday party and hope to “just wing it” at the buffet table. You will need a plan to side step those pesky temptations and stay focused on why you’re choosing fitness and health instead of those extra calories. It may be tempting to skip meals in preparation to gorge at the company party or family get together; but this will assuredly lead to eating much more than you intended. On the day of a holiday party, eat a nutritious breakfast and healthy snacks throughout the day to keep your hunger and sugar levels in check. Starting the day with a healthy mindset will help you stay mindful of which foods you choose to eat and not let your eyes do the deciding. Here are a few more ideas to help you set goals at the forefront and keep over-indulgence to a minimum as you navigate upcoming holiday celebrations.
- Don’t hang out at the appetizer table while socializing at a holiday party. Fill one small plate of food and then call it quits. Make a conscious effort to position yourself away from the hors d’oeuvres at a holiday function. (Mueller, 2013)
- Remember the law of diminishing returns. Doesn’t the first bite always taste the best? When looking at brain chemicals signaling “pleasure,” scientists have found that we receive less pleasure the more we eat of a food. So rather than feeling like you must eat a full serving of every dessert at a holiday meal, take just a bite or two and receive 90 percent of the pleasure at 10 percent of the calories. (Mueller, 2013)
- Don’t let “food pushers’ lead to holiday weight gain. Despite your best laid plans, your holiday food goals can still go awry thanks to “food pushers” – friends, family members, and co-workers who refuse to take “no” for an answer when they’re offering fattening treats. The easiest way out? Just say “no” – over and over and over, the experts say. “We call this the broken record technique,” says Huberman. “If you continue to politely refuse the food pusher, eventually they will stop pushing you. You don’t have to be rude, but you do have to be firm.” (Bouchez, 2011)
Be confident in what you want to achieve this season and make a plan so you can face the Holidays head on with plenty of room to squeeze in a few of your favorite holiday foods.
- Mueller, Kim. (2013). 10 Strategies to Prevent The Holiday Bulge. For Active.com feature article. http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-holidays-8/holiday-diet
- Bouchez, Colette. (2011). How to Beat The Holiday Weight Gain Odds. WebMD Feature archive. http://www.active.com/nutrition/articles/10-strategies-to-prevent-the-holiday-bulge?page=1
About the Author:
Kristi Montgomery has her B.S. in Health Science, emphasizing in Health Promotion and Lifetime Wellness. She is a licensed massage therapist and enjoys combining the two fields to enhance fitness performance and recovery. She enjoys all types of outdoor sports including rock climbing, boating, and snowboarding. Her fitness endeavors this year have been running a couple of half marathons in Utah and completing the Las Vegas Ragnar in early November. Big accomplishments for a non-runner! She is fascinated by discovering how food and exercise can affect and heal the body and loves to share her passion with others.