01 Nov Eat Healthy This Holiday Season: 7 Ways to Stay Healthy Through January
Was your Thanksgiving marred by overindulging? Don’t lose hope if you’re trying to eat healthfully over the holidays. There are several ways you can still enjoy food at holiday celebrations without overeating. Many people assume it’s unavoidable to gain weight over the holidays, but it’s possible to combat this notion with a little mindfulness and planning. Here are a few tips on how to approach eating over the holidays, especially if you intend to eat healthfully during the season — and all year long.
Eat before you go:
Easier said than done, but try to never go to a party hungry. Try to eat a small meal that includes protein before leaving home. Remember that protein intake will help you balance blood sugar, so without it in your system, you’ll find yourself uncontrollably drawn to sugary decadence.
Staying hydrated is vital to avoid overeating because people often mistake hunger for thirst. A great tip is to drink a full glass of water with that small meal, and you’ll set yourself up for success.
Think about what you eat:
When you’re standing next to the delectable, obscenely decadent buffet table, remember to make the best choices and to not overdo it. Life isn’t THAT short, but it will be if you keep eating like everyone does every holiday… If you decide to eat something, do it slowly and deliberately, tasting and chewing every bite. If you eat mindlessly, you won’t be able to savor the delicious tastes of the food, and you’ll be left with only the extra calories that linger.
Let yourself eat — then take a break:
If you try to start a diet before the holidays, restricting calories and meals ahead of a celebration — so you can ultimately pig out — that probably won’t work. It takes about 20 minutes for our brain to tell our stomach it’s full, so taking a few minutes between servings can help prevent overeating.
Taste it up — in small doses:
We may feel full and happy the more we swallow, but it’s the taste that is most satisfying to our brains. With that in mind, don’t rush the foods you choose to eat. Take your time to eat a little of each chosen food and savor it, rather than gulping and missing most of the pleasure. A smaller amount can be much more enjoyable than a large one, and it leaves room for tasting more goodies without the stomachache.
Strive to maintain:
Some people try to avoid overeating while others use this time of year to lose weight. Instead of attempting to shed pounds amidst all the temptation, you may be better off working to maintain your weight instead. Trying to lose weight during this time can be very difficult and discouraging, so it may be a better idea to maintain your weight until January, which is a more practical time to focus on weight loss efforts.
Reframe your failures:
If you do overindulge, forget about it and move on. One of the biggest ways people get stuck in a rut over the holidays is by beating themselves up after one or two less-than-healthy indulgences. It’s a good strategy to try hard not to overindulge, but it’s never a goo idea to beat yourself over it afterward. Instead of calling yourself a failure, try to reframe your thoughts to consider what you learned and how you can set yourself up for healthier choices in the future. Feeling guilty over food is never the answer.