Last week was the official kick off to the 2013 holiday season! This is a wonderful time of the year that I always look forward to, but it does come with its own pitfalls: cookies, pie, eggnog, and other delectable treats. For anyone trying to lose weight, or even just maintain their current one, this season can be a mine field. There always seems to be some party to attend, baked goods in the office or old friends meeting up for drinks.
In the spirit of enjoying the holidays while also enjoying good health, I reflected on my own Thanksgiving to try and find some strategies to get us through to January. Fortunately, I attended three celebrations and was able to try out different tactics at each one.
1. Eat Breakfast.
Especially for Thanksgiving, people will sacrifice their morning meal to “save room” for later. This is a mistake! At Thanksgiving #1 I showed up starving and ate my meals worth of calories in appetizers and then continued to have a full meal. By the end, I was too full (I was also wearing jeans, not the best Thanksgiving pants). The next day, I had a light breakfast and a late morning snack. I found that when apps went out at 2, I was able to be selective and moderate my intake.
2. Work Out.
This year, Thanksgiving had the most road races of any day, beating July fourth by a mile! No matter what event you have planed, squeeze in some exercise; it can set the tone for a healthy day. If you can’t get to the gym, go for a run, play some football with the family, take the dogs for a walk or dance through your house with your hubby. Taking 30 minutes can do a great deal for your body and spirit, not to mention stress level.
3. Choose the Special Foods.
That’s right; enjoy Aunt Margo’s famous apple pie or Uncle John’s stuffed mushrooms. They only make them around this time so indulge a little bit. Conversely, avoid the usual fare. Skip the basic cookie platter and other foods that you can get at any time of the year. By focusing on the specialty items, you still get to satisfy your cravings without over doing it.
4. Sip Your Beverage.
Eggnog! Cider! Wine! Beer! Cocktails! These all come with the season. The best advice I have is to simply savor them. To help, keep water nearby to actually quench your thirst. This lets you prolong your yummy drink while preventing dehydration and the dreaded holiday hangover.
5. Focus on Friends, Not Food.
Meals and drinks are nice perk of the holidays, but eating is not the reason you are together. Make sure you take this time to see all the friends and family around you. Personally, some of my family lives far away so I don’t see them a lot throughout the year. Ask questions, get and give updates and just catch up. You tend to eat less when engaged in a good conversation.