How is it December already? It seems like just yesterday I was enjoying my summer vacation! In any case, it’s here. Are you ready? Do you have a plan? If you’re like most people, you’re feeling overwhelmed.
While this is a joyous time of year, it can also be really stressful. You’re not alone if you find that you’re putting self-prioritization on the back burner and falling off track with healthy eating and exercise.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. A while back I wrote a blog post about how to avoid extra weight gain during the holiday season. In today’s blog, I offer some additional strategies to maintain your health goals and still enjoy a festive holiday season.
Here are 7 additional strategies that I recommend:
- Use a food tracker for accountability. This can be really helpful throughout the month as you attend holiday parties that are bound to include those tempting high calorie and high carb apps, desserts, and beverages. I recommend that you track your intake during the days leading up to a party or event, and definitely track the day after. On the day of the party, relax and enjoy. But be sure to get back on track the next day with plenty of lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, complex carbs and healthy fats. Your food tracker will hold you accountable and ensure you’re meeting your needs. I love the app Nutritionix Track and my clients do too.
- Set an exercise goal and stick to it. Decide how many times you will exercise or work out in December. Have a friend, personal trainer, or fellow gym goer hold you accountable. Reward yourself with something small when you meet your goal (just don’t reward yourself with food or alcohol). I’m not saying you can exercise your way out of poor eating habits, but it will help you to burn some extra calories, lower stress, and feel great about yourself. Who wouldn’t want that?
- Hosting a party or event? Give your favorite recipes a makeover. Replace inflammatory vegetable oils with olive oil or avocado oil. Swap heavy carb and fat based casseroles with simpler options. For example, replace a green bean casserole with green beans sautéed in olive oil and topped with almond slivers; swap mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower or glazed sweet potatoes with a plain sweet potato topped with cinnamon. Check out my Pinterest page for more ideas.
- Adopt a “Maintain Don’t Gain” philosophy. Instead of focusing on losing weight during December, set a goal to maintain your weight. It will lower your stress level and allow you to indulge in moderation.
- Ditch the sugary high calorie alcoholic beverages. Many are laden with syrup based mixers that will spike your blood sugar and cause you to crave more sweets. Opt for choices that include sparkling seltzer. It will significantly decrease calories and additives, and it will help to keep you hydrated.
- Limit the leftovers, especially desserts. If you are offered leftovers, opt for protein and vegetables. Leave the desserts behind. There will be plenty of those at the party next weekend.
- Hitting the buffet? Before getting in line, scope out your options. Seek out the fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins and be sure to fill your plate with those first. Decide which carbs you will enjoy (starchy vegetables are best) and which ones you will forgo. Avoid heavy sauces and fried foods.
Let’s face it, even with the best of intentions life gets in the way. The holidays are no exception. Having a clear-cut plan as you approach this month of celebrations will help you stay on track. Remember that this time of year is about spending time with those you love, and reflection. Stay focused on what really matters, remain positive, and remind yourself that you CAN do this.
Interested in learning more about my nutrition counseling services? Contact me here.