The holidays often add challenges to our best efforts. As hard as we have worked throughout the rest of the year to keep on track, we are now faced with travel, parties, big meals, special snacks at work and drinking. All of which tend to create an environment that simply does not support our healthy eating efforts. Add to that the days of travel and juggling time with family and friends we leave ourselves little to no time to schedule exercise. And come January, we wonder what happened!
The good news is it really does not have to end this way. With a little extra effort on your part, you can enjoy the parties and fun without needing to make a New Year’s resolution to get back on track! Like most things we are trying to change we will need to do a little planning and make a few adjustments, but if you follow these few party tips weight loss or maintenance aren’t as difficult as they may seem.
- Eat a small, balanced meal or snack before you leave home. If you arrive to the party hungry, you’ll be more likely to overindulge (another great reason to NOT skip breakfast and lunch).
- Study ALL of the food options, and think about what you are going to have before you put anything on your plate. Decide which foods are worth eating and which can be ignored, and then stick to that decision.
- If you taste something that you don’t enjoy, leave it on your plate—don’t finish it!
- Choose vegetables first. Broccoli, baby carrots, cauliflower and tomatoes are good choices that are usually on the appetizer table. Take only a small spoonful of dip or skip it entirely.
- Eat chips and crackers in moderation, and definitely avoid eating them straight from the bag. Put some on a small plate and don’t load them down with creamy mayo-based dips.
- Try not to hang out near the food to avoid grazing. Find a comfortable spot across the room and focus on socializing instead of eating.
- Sip a large glass of water or mineral water. This will keep you hydrated and provide you with a better option than alcohol.
- Take a walk or attend your usual exercise session the day of a party. Make it a priority rather than saying there isn’t time. It is probably more important than the party!
- Remember to check your weight throughout the holidays; it may help guide your choices.
If it helps make a contract with yourself and post it somewhere that you can see it every day:
I know that it is possible to enjoy the wonderful food of this holiday season and keep my weight stable. Today, I make a promise to myself to make healthy food choices during this holiday season. I will balance my food intake. I will limit the sweets and desserts I eat. I will avoid grazing between meals. If I drink, I will do so in moderation. I will maintain my activity level.
I promise to enjoy this special time of the year and give thanks for my health, happiness, and the love of my friends and family.
What are your biggest struggles during the holiday season? Post your thoughts and maybe we can come up with a few solutions.