Amidst the holiday parties, baking hundreds of cookies, and eating the milk and cookies left for Santa.. It’s evident that the holiday season revolves heavily around food.
This food-centered time of year can present many challenges for those who are focusing on improving and optimizing their health and body.
Fortunately, with the right approach and skillset, the holidays don't have to be a death sentence to your progress. Use these 5 strategies to navigate this holiday season:
1. Start with the right mindset.
Many people have an “all-or-nothing” mentality: either “I’m on a diet or I’m not on a diet.”
Most people just throw their plan out the window when they think they’ve slipped up, or they’ve ‘fallen off the wagon.”
Celebrations don’t have to derail your lifestyle. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to follow your plan and eat healthy, but also know it's okay to have a slice of pie if you want the damn pie!
No food is on the naughty list!
2. To diet or to not diet?
Even before the first invitation arrives, it’s helpful to set some realistic expectations. Is it possible to lose weight through the holiday season? Absolutely.
However, the holiday season is almost inevitably caloric and indulgent. In order to enjoy what friends, family and office parties have to offer, as well as lower some diet-related stress, I would recommend focusing on maintaining your weight, rather than losing weight.
Allow yourself more flexibility this time of year. There will be temptations in every direction, and with a little planning, you can indulge in your favorite foods while still eating well.
3. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Time during the holidays can be as scarce as sugar is plentiful. Navigating the holiday hustle requires strategic planning for the week ahead. Keeping healthy snacks on hand, along with
preparing meals in advance at home is the #1 strategy for success, irrespective of seasonal changes or the time of year. This proactive approach not only enhances the convenience and accessibility of healthier choices but also mitigates the temptation to resort to fast food drive-thrus during those hectic moments.
4. Eat before you go
When you skip meals in an effort to reserve calories, you often end up overeating, as well as feel sluggish and hungry throughout the day. A light snack before the event, such as fruit and a protein shake, will help you better manage your appetite. If you’re attending a party where there may not be a full meal served, eat a nutritious and protein-packed dinner before arriving — that will save you from trying to sustain yourself on high-calorie finger food.
5. Practice portion control
More often than not, our eyes are bigger than our stomach, especially when it comes to your favorite holiday dishes and treats. The best way to enjoy all the fun foods you love is to start with small portions. This way, you can enjoy your favorite holiday treats without overindulging and derailing your health goals.
Although maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging during this time, you don't have to let the holiday season completely throw you off track. Incorporating these strategies to help navigate holiday eating and savor the season without jeopardizing your progress.