FEATURE — The holidays are a time of fun, friends, family and food. Though many of us start with good intentions, we often struggle to avoid overindulging.
Create a plan so you can successfully navigate those final days of the year. Here are seven tips to help you avoid temptation so you can thrive during the holiday season.
The list of favorite holiday recipes can be longer than a drugstore receipt. Certain dishes are only served around the holidays, which usually leads to overindulging. Take some time to pick your top three to five dishes being served at the event and stick to those. Then focus on savoring each bite! The more you enjoy each spoonful, the less your body will want to eat.
Make room for veggies
Many holiday dishes – though delicious – are heavy in sugar and fat. When building your plate, start with vegetables first, then add protein, and finish off with one or two of your favorite sweet bites.
It takes the body about 10 minutes to feel satisfied, full or overly stuffed. Before heading back to the spread for seconds, find someone to chat with for a few minutes while your body digests. When your conversation is over, you’ll be able to better determine if you’re still hungry or if you’ve had enough.
Drink to your health
Alternate between water and alcoholic drinks over the course of the event. Cocktails and festive drinks can have a ton of hidden sugar that might send you over the caloric edge, making you feel worse the next day. Water and sparkling water can help keep you hydrated and avoid a hangover.
Eat regular meals
Stick with your normal eating schedule and food selection. The holidays consist of just a handful of bigger meals spread out over 45 days. If your normal eating and current activity levels can be maintained, you’ll be better off going into the new year, and you won’t need a big jumpstart to eat well and exercise more. Skipping meals in preparation for holiday events can often lead to overeating.
Visit people, not food
One of the best parts of the holidays is the opportunity to catch up with friends and family you may only see during this time. Take the focus away from the food, and spend more time catching up with loved ones. Relationships last longer than pie.
It’s easy to skip workouts and be more sedentary during this time of year. Plan walks or outdoor activities with friends and family so you can still get your exercise in and spend time with those who are most important to you. Making it to the gym when there are social gatherings or days when the gyms are closed in observance can make your normal workout routine challenging. Keep in mind you can still move your body in other places than the gym. Bodyweight workouts and walking are great ways to stay active and can help with digestion and sleep too.
The holidays don’t have to derail the progress you’ve made. Approach the last forty-five days of feasts, parties, family, and stress with a plan so you avoid the holiday hangover.
Written by GINI GRIMSLEY, director of fitness product for VASA Fitness.
This article was originally published in the Nov/Dec. 2021 issue of St. George Health and Wellness magazine.
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