It's the most wonderful time of the year!
As the song says, yuletide festivities may bring the feeling of good times, but for many, it can be a time of fear.
People who are trying to lose weight or to stay healthy during the holidays usually panic and believe that they will fail when presented with luxurious sweets and plenty of alcohol.
The truth is, there are a few simple things you can do to stay healthy and actually enjoy the holidays without guilt.
Don't try to lose weight. Maintain it.
It is NOT a time to try a detoxification diet or to avoid food all together. Now is the time to practice balance so that you can enjoy the festivities without gaining weight. Instead of trying to lose weight during this time, have a goal to maintain the weight you already are. Getting rid of the all or nothing mentality during the holidays will help you to continue to find balance and enjoy good company and good food.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Try not to have sweets around the house throughout the holiday season. Try to limit them to the parties or excursions you will go to and only enjoy them there as you would under normal circumstances.
If you do make sweets for your home, try healthier ones.
The internet is now packed with recipes that are gluten and dairy free, have a lot less sugar, and more organic ingredients, and overall, still taste really good! There is really no excuse for making unhealthy versions of your favourite desserts anymore, so opt to find recipes that offer more nutrition and less junk.
If you are already exercising, continue to do so during the holiday season. If you can't make it to the gym, there are many programmes you can follow online or simply include family activities that involve more movement throughout the holidays. Play in the snow, go for long walks, go ice skating, or anything that will get your blood circulating throughout this season. Even stretching exercises done on a daily basis are a great way to keep your body physically working for you and your metabolism.
At any party or outing, this is the overall recommendation. So, why should the holidays be an exception? If you do drink, white spirits usually offer less calories than wine or beer. However, try to limit your intake at parties to one to two drinks and sip on sparkling water throughout an evening out to stay well hydrated.
Don't have amnesia!
In other words, don't throw the good eating habits you already know out of the window. Make sure to continue to eat a plant rich diet on a daily basis and include good sources of protein and healthy fats. If you know you will go out one evening, do not skip meals so you can overeat at a dinner or party. Continue your good eating habits so you won't go starving to a party and then overdo it. At the end of the day, keeping balance is the way to get through this holiday period.
Last but not least, be present within yourself and be mindful of how your body feels. Stay in touch with your hunger signals and when you feel full. Staying mindful will help you to understand when you may have overdone it or when you are staying on track. If one day you feel you overate, try to eat more salads and veggies the next day to balance things out.
Remember, holidays are not about food and drink per se, but about creating memories with loved ones that will stay with us for a lifetime. If we focus more on this than food, we will definitely have our cake and eat it too!