Happy December! Hard to believe! For the next 10 weeks, my lovely blog friend (and real-life friend) Leslie Ann of LAQ Fitness and I will be hosting an “Eat, Drink, & Be Merry” blogging festivus, where we’ll share our special holiday blog workouts, recipes and tips for enjoying a healthiest, happiness holiday season yet. And you’re not going to hear either one of us say to not eat sweets or enjoy some spiced wine. 🙂
One of the things that has always frustrated me during the holidays is when people vow not to gain the festive 7 pounds or when they vow to stick to a strict diet. What fun is that?! I don’t believe in following strict diet rules any time of the year, but especially not during the holidays when there are parties. Of course, there are food restrictions and allergies (and I know firsthand how frustrating those are), but restricting calories and being mean to your body and mind–especially during the holidays–is pressure no one needs or deserves.
I also know how easy it can be to let the holiday fun spiral into one long month of unhealthy eating and drinking as the parties fill your calendar and sweets fill your kitchen. You go to one party, try one tasty little finger food, one tasty little cocktail, and the next thing you know, you’ve eaten alllll the tasty food and tried allllll the tasty cocktails. Then, you rinse, repeat, regret, and do it again at the next holiday party (the next night) or eat all the cookies that your coworker brought or all the homemade chocolate truffles your neighbor brings you. So, how do you prevent this from happening? Here’s how I enjoy holiday, without over-thinking it and without over-indulging.
1. Work out — hard — and do it in the mornings if you can. When I get in a solid workout, my food and drink choices are better throughout the day. And it’s not just the “I don’t want to undo this” mindset. I find I really don’t crave junk food as much as days when I have a great work out. I think there is a chemical/science component to this. (Leslie Ann may blog about this in her post since she has studied more of the science behind weight loss than I have!)
2. Eat before a party. If you have dietary restrictions, eat basically a full meal, unless the host has reached out to you about your dietary needs and is specifically accommodating you. I hate being a nuisance at parties and never want to draw attention to what I can and can’t eat, so this allows me just to eat lightly or graze on the food without going hungry. If you don’t have dietary restrictions, make sure you don’t starve yourself all day to “save up” for the party. (I heard a lot of people on Thanksgiving basically say/tweet this – “I haven’t eaten all day to save my calories for dinner!”) You’ll just overeat (probably by a lot) because you’ll be so hungry. Eat like you normally would (or a bit healthier if you can!). I like to eat extra protein and fats leading up to indulging events so I’m not as tempted by ALL.THE.FOOD as I would be if I’m starving.
3. Set a cap on the number of drinks you’ll have — before you arrive. I generally only have one drink on “regular” nights (weekends, going out, etc.). But for parties, I usually want to indulge a little more. Depending on the time of the party and other circumstances, I’ll set a limit of 2 or 3 drinks and decide on it before I get to the party rather than playing it by ear. You can talk yourself into drinks much more easily after you’ve had a drink. Tell a friend, if you can, to help you stay accountable.
4. Alternate drinks with water. Before I even pick up my second drink, I make sure to drink a large glass of water. This helps me keep me hydrated so I’m not drinking out of thirst. I also find it helps me feel better the next day.
5. Be a foodie! If it’s a party with small plates or lots of dishes and desserts to taste, eat what you want and enjoy. And pass on what you don’t. And if you try something, and it’s not great, you don’t have finish it. There is no pleasure in eating mediocre food, and food should be enjoyable! So if you find stuff you like, eat up! Eat more than you normally would if you want! But just pass on the stuff that isn’t your favorite.
What are your tips? How do you prevent the holidays from spiraling into too much unhealthiness while still enjoying yourself?