Guest Post by Sara Upton
If you’re trying to lose weight and fit into smaller-sized clothes, the holidays tend to have a lot less “comfort and joy” and a whole lot more discomfort and guilt. With all of the mouth-watering homemade desserts, high-fat snacks, and delectable little candies lying around, it’s no wonder this time of year is so difficult to navigate for someone trying to live a healthier life.
But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that eating more nutritiously this time of year isn’t impossible. In fact, there are several things you can do to make your holidays healthier so that you arrive at January 1st with a smile on your face and a smaller number on the scale. Here are four to consider…
1. Don’t Declare Any Food Off Limits
The quickest way to a binge is to assert that you’re going to go through the holiday season without eating any of the foods you typically love. Instead, remind yourself that it is okay to enjoy some of your holiday favorites and you’ll be less likely to gorge on them when no one is looking. One way to do this is to allow yourself a treat day, a strategy that is commonly used to help new college students avoid the dreaded Freshman 15. That way you can relax a little without worrying about overindulging.
2. Practice Portion Control
Maybe Grandma only makes your absolutely all-time favorite cookies around Christmas, but eating as many as you can fit into your mouth in one sitting isn’t going to make you enjoy them more. In fact, it will probably make you enjoy them less because then you’ll feel guilty for overdoing it. If you feel the incredible need to stockpile your favorites, simply throw them in the freezer to enjoy at a later date. Otherwise, just eat a regular-sized portion so that you can enjoy your favorites without all of the guilt. (Check out this printable Portion-Size Guide so you know what true portion sizes are!)
3. Eat Mindfully
Part of what makes holiday eating so unhealthy is that it is so easy to snack on foods mindlessly because they’re always just lying around. However, the tendency to grab and munch can be thwarted by choosing to not eat unless you are sitting down at a table and able to fully concentrate on the foods you’re putting in your mouth. There’s even a Mindful Eating Virtual Coach app you can download to help you pay better attention to what you’re eating if you’d like (there is a small fee for it, but if it works, it may be worth the couple of bucks).
4. Eat More Veggies
Although yummy holiday foods often center on heavy meals and sugary desserts, making sure you get your vegetables in is a great way to fill your tummy without adding a lot of unnecessary calories. Plus, because they’re high in fiber, they keep you fuller longer. As a result, it’ll be easier to walk away from some of the other not-as-good-for-you foods that are available this time of year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two to three cups of veggies per day, so make this your goal and you’ll likely emerge lighter after the holidays pass.
Do these four things and your holidays will be more comfortable and joyous—how nice does that sound?
About the Author: Sara Upton is a recent college graduate and health and fitness blogger. She is a firm believer that anyone can find time for a healthy lifestyle if they get active in a way that they enjoy. Her favorite activities include running with her dog, yoga and strength training.