So you’ve developed a healthy eating plan and you’re starting to get yourself on track with your fitness goals…and then you realize that you have another challenge: holiday gatherings.
When I first started changing my eating habits the one thing that I found challenging was social gatherings. It was easy to control the food that I ate at home, and even when I was out and about. But then I would go to someone’s house and all of a sudden I found myself staring at tables full of food that I knew I would likely eat even though I knew that I shouldn’t. The holidays were the hardest. If your family gatherings are anything like the ones I go to, you know that eating healthy can sometimes be a real challenge.
These are some habits I’ve adopted over to eat my way through the holidays without compromising too much of my healthy habits:
Eat before I go. If I am going to a gathering where I know there are going to be a lot of sweets and junk foods, I eat beforehand. Going anywhere on an empty stomach only sets me up to eat a bunch of stuff I know I’ll regret later.
Bring food I know I will not feel guilty eating. Every Thanksgiving I choose to bring something that I feel good about eating. That way, I know that I will have at least one healthy choice to eat.
If the food table tempts me, allow myself a small portion of things that look too delicious to pass up. One cookie isn’t going to hurt me. The whole plate probably will.
Stay away from the food table. My former husband’s family always had a habit of sitting around the same table where the junky snacks were. Well guess what? As we were sitting there socializing, I would absent-mindedly help myself to a handful of chips without even thinking about it. On the other hand, once I moved away from the table I would far less likely to go back over to the table to eat.
Avoid stress. Easier said than done, especially when the whole month of December is a stressful one for me. But increased stress leads to more emotional eating which means an increased likelihood of overeating.
Get enough sleep. With school and holiday preparations in the month of December, I tend to have a lot of late nights, which leaves more tired than usual. When I am tired, I think far less about what I should be eating and I gravitate towards easy to eat convenience foods, and fast foods. Not only that, but I am far less inclined to have energy to work out.
Maintain my fitness habits. Again, it’s easy to get in the mindset that I’m “too busy” or “too tired” to exercise during the holidays. This is exactly when we should be finding time to exercise. Not only does it keep us on track with our overall fitness goals, but it also is a great way to de-stress.
Allow room for error. Although ideally we should maintain the same healthy habits regardless of the season, there are times when it is okay to veer a little bit off track. You’ll be fine if you remind yourself that this is a special occasion and not the start to a relapse of old bad habits.
If I fail miserably, start over. Isn’t this why we all make New Year’s Resolutions? Seriously, though, according to Weight Watchers, the average person gains 7-10 pounds each holiday season. If for some reason you fall off the bandwagon, remind yourself that you can get back on again, and back on track.
With a little perseverance you can stay on track with your eating and fitness goals during the holidays!