With the holiday season upon us, many of you may be feeling slightly nervous about what this may mean for your health efforts. You’ve been doing great so far with your plan and have stuck with it for the previous weeks or even months.
But with Christmas and New Years lurking around the corner, you may be having serious doubts you’ll be able to continue on your quest for optimal health. With so many parties to attend and holiday treats around every corner, how will you continue to say no?
The truth is, you really don’t have to. While you definitely can’t feast on cookies, pies, cakes, and eggnog every single day, you can allow yourself an indulgence from time to time if you take the right precautions.
It’s all about preparing yourself for the holidays and knowing how to prevent those few indulgences from ruining your entire program.
Here are four different ways to stay healthy during the upcoming holiday season.
First and possibly most important, be sure that you are planning ahead as often as you can. If you know that you have a holiday work party coming up for example, cut back a bit on your food intake leading up to that party. This way, you’ll have built in some calorie wiggle room and can indulge without the guilt.
By planning ahead, you’ll come out on par with your target calorie intake and as such, won’t experience weight gain.
When cutting back, cut back on your carbs or fat intake. Protein should always remain constant. In fact, it’s a great idea to have a protein based snack a few hours prior to going to the event so that you aren’t ravenous when you get there.
Remember this isn’t a mission to starve yourself leading up to an event. You should ideally cut back by around 300-500 calories on the two to four meals leading up to the function, which should give you that leeway for one or two treats without worrying. You still will need to practice some restraint, so keep that in mind.
Build Fun Holiday Activities Into Your Schedule
Hitting the gym as regularly may also be quite a challenge, which is why you need to seek out fitness outside of the gym.
Try cross country skiing or simply go for a walk with your significant other. Bundle up and take in the cool, crisp winter air.
Or, rather than meeting a friend for coffee, do some window shopping at the mall. With all the holiday décor around, it’s bound to put you in the spirit.
Remember that exercise definitely does not have to take place in the gym. You can just as easily get your daily dose of exercise in outside the gym setting.
Load Up On Fiber
To help combat hunger through the day and ensure that you make smart food choices, try loading up on dietary fiber. Adding plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit to your meals each day will help keep blood glucose levels stable and prevent those energy crashes – crashes that often drive you to eat foods you shouldn’t.
If you walk pass a tray of Christmas brownies with low blood sugar, there’s a very good chance you’ll be walking away with one in hand.
Walk by with controlled blood sugar levels and low hunger and your willpower will hopefully remain strong. Some of the best high fiber foods to start eating include berries, broccoli, leafy greens, beans, lentils, and whole grains.
Choose Your Treats Wisely
Finally, be sure that you are choosing the foods you do indulge in wisely. Keep in mind that you can only treat yourself to so many items this holiday season, so be sure that you restrict those treats to foods only available during the holidays.
It makes no sense to waste calories on something that you could get year round when there are so many seasonal goodies around that you can spurge on.
Plan those treats ahead of time so that you know exactly what you’re eating whenever you go to that holiday event or party you plan to attend.
So there you have the few smart tips you need to know to stay health this coming holiday season. With a little pre planning, some moderation, and a balanced nutritional approach, you don’t have to spend the entire holiday season feeling restricted and like you just can’t eat what you’re craving.