As we approach the beginning of the holiday season, a plethora of heavy, rich and uber delicious foods start to creep up onto our dinner tables, and tempt us into overindulging.
However, just because it’s time to eat, drink and be merry, doesn’t mean you have to give up all the hard work you’ve done up until this point.
Here are my top 10 tricks to avoid the temptation, and keep yourself fit and in check with all that delicious food.
1. Choose Your Battles
You want more turkey then have fewer deserts. You want more main dishes then avoid the hors d'oeuvres. You want to eat more of the feast that’s been cooked then avoid drinking alcohol.
These aren't excuses to eat more crap, but rather a scale you should be weighing realistically within your head. Going in with a game plan sets you up for success, so be conscious and seriously consider if that extra bite is worth the extra calories, defeated attitude, and lethargic feeling that you could have or avoid at the end of the day.
2. Avoid Over Eating
I’m aware that this is an obvious statement, but the amount of people that overlook obvious is rampant when we look at our society as a whole.
By filling up your plate with everything you want the first time around, you are scientifically less likely to go back for seconds, which means you're more likely to eat only want you need, not what you may want.
There's a big difference in what you need and what you want, so being mindful to how your body feels will help you from over doing it on the heavy foods.
3. Fill Your Plate With Healthier Options
There will be some good options, some bad, and some really bad options. You know which ones are worse, so try to fill your plate, and thus your stomach with healthier main dishes and sides.
If you can forgo the desert all together than do it. Yes, they taste good, but are a few bites of sweetness really worth the money, time and effort you’ll have to spend to undo those bite? I think not.
If it truly is that important to taste those treats then allow yourself to have a small piece of one, not a sampling plate of all of them.
4. Avoid The Appetizers
Yes, I know you’re starving, and simply cannot wait for the main attraction, but if you can avoid all the snacking before hand, you’re already setting yourself up for success.
The tiny plates of cheese, crackers, bread, cured meats and anything else your family may decide to put out to hold you over, are little obstacles on the way to sitting down at the dinner table.
If you’re truly that hungry than cut up some vegetables, and go to town on them. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, add ranch or any heavy dips to those healthier options. You’re not tricking anyone, especially yourself with vegetables covered in crap, they just become crap once crap is on them.
5. Drink More Water
This tip in general should be implemented into your daily routine as water truly is the most beneficial thing for you body, but drinking more water during the big holidays will do a few things for you.
- Drinking more water will help fill you up, leaving you less likely to over eat.
- By keeping a glass of water handy, you’re less likely to eat out of boredom, which is what many of us do when we have downtime, aka what the holidays are all about.
- Drinking water will keep you from getting sick as we approach the colder months, which is huge for keeping on top of your fitness and eating healthy.
- And finally, a hydrated body will keep you from being hung over, which if you’re being realistic with yourself, is a real possibility when you consider how much drinking tends to come along with the holiday season. If you aren’t hung over, you’re more likely to wake up, exercise, make smart decisions, and not eat a ton of crap food.
6. Drink Clear
Keeping with the theme of drinking, which again is a very likely occurrence, you want to choose clear beverages.
If it isn’t water, and you’re of age, then things like vodka, tequila, and gin are much smarter and lower caloric options. Adding soda water and fresh lime to these adult beverages will make them even tastier, and will keep the sugar factor much lower than all those holiday drinks.
Drinking is fun, but feeling, looking and acting like a terd is not. Don't over do the booze, and splurge on higher quality alcohol as it will also keep the hang overs less severe.
7. Moderation Is Key
I truly believe this is the golden rule of life.
Small portions of all the things you love will make you feel like you aren’t missing out, and will prevent you from binging later.
You should be able to enjoy everything you want to, but if you’ve over done it in past years then be aware of your track record. Again, by being honest with yourself, you are setting yourself up for success.
8. Avoid Downtime
Staying active throughout all the downtime is key to keeping yourself in check. Not only will exercise distract you from waiting for the meal to be done, it will allow you to eat a little more, and feel like all the eating is serving an actual purpose (nourishing your body).
Wrangle the family together to go play football outside, take an exercise class, or go for a scenic walk around town. It will create some great dinner conversation, and be a bonding experience that will mark this specific year’s festivities.
The more active you are, the more your body will thank you, so get up and go!
9. Create New Traditions
There are no rules to what a holiday meal is supposed to look like.
If you’re struggling with staying on track then don’t even bother tempting yourself. Cook a healthy meal, avoid the creams, sugars and added salt.
The holidays aren’t about the food, they’re about enjoying your time with the people you love. Don’t sabotage all the hard work you’ve put in for the past 11 months, and remember summer bodies are made in the winter, so if you want to feel good, look good, and be around longer for those that you love, healthier options or versions of old classics are the way to go!
10. Enjoy Yourself
The holidays are supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy life, so don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t doing everything perfectly. Being kind to yourself through any process is of paramount importance, and will help you bounce back from slight mishaps.
However, there truly is a difference between cutting yourself slack, and letting yourself fall off the deep end.
The best thing you can do is just be honest, mindful and respectful of the journey you are on. Listen to your body. When you're full stop eating, the leftovers aren't going anywhere, and if they are going home with someone else that just means less temptation for you.
Have a great holiday season, and enjoy!