Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Survival Tips for the Holiday Season

Scott and I after running the Turkey Trot 10k!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Just as I was feeling proud for surviving Thanksgiving without completely sabotaging my healthy lifestyle , I began to realize that the true temptations are only beginning.  While I was browsing Pinterest last night it seemed like my entire feed was full of pinned recipes for holiday cookies, candy, cakes, etc...  and trust me, at 8:30 p.m I was ready to print out those recipes and make (and eat!) all of them!   While the holiday season can be full of fun parties with coworkers, family, and friends, I can guarantee you that each of those gatherings will include tempting food and beverages.  If you want to survive and thrive during the holidays without compromising all of your hard work and without others thinking you are the Grinch, check out some of these tips that I have found helpful:

  • Be strategic: Decide what indulgences are worth the calories to you and then make healthy substitutions for food that you could live without.  For example, at Thanksgiving I knew that I would want dessert- so instead of loading up my plate with mashed potatoes and gravy I had a sweet potato and I skipped the dinner roll.  
  • Set Limits ahead of time:  At holiday functions it is easy to get caught up in the festivities and start mindlessly eating or drinking.  Before you even get to the party, decide how many glasses of wine or how many cookies you would like to eat- and stick to it! 
  • Increase your exercise: One of the easiest ways to combat the extra holiday calories is too simply burn more of them!  And this does not have to be boring- during the holidays there are a lot of fun holiday-themed 5k’s and 10’s- like the Jingle Bell Run, Reindeer Romp, Egg Nog Jog, etc… For races in your area check out www.runningintheusa.com.  I can tell you that I felt much better eating my Thanksgiving dinner knowing that I had already run 6.2 miles in the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in the morning!
  • Wear something cute and form fitting:  One of my secrets is to use a holiday gathering as an excuse to buy a new outfit or wear something that I feel extremely attractive in.  I have found this works for two reasons: first of all, it is much easier to resist the pressure of others telling you ”oh its not a big deal, you can eat this” when you are able to remind yourself that your smart and healthy food decisions are what allowed you to look hot in what you are wearing and that is what matters to you more than an extra serving of macaroni and cheese or sweet potato casserole.  Also, by wearing something form fitting or snug you will be less likely to overeat because it will be physically uncomfortable.
  • Weigh yourself:   It is tempting to ignore the scale if you feel like you have overindulged and to convince yourself that you will step back on the scale once you have gotten back on track.  Don’t do this! The scale is not a judge, it is simply a tool for you to measure where you are at- and it is much easier to get back on track when you have only gained 5lbs instead of stepping on the scale in January and realizing you now have an extra 20 lb Christmas present!
  • Bring healthy foods to share: When invited to a party, bring your favorite healthy food or drink to share.  Even if everyone else hates it, at least you know there will be something at the party that you can eat!

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