Even the most dedicated of us struggle during the holidays to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Temptation is around every corner, and each party or get-together presents the difficult choice to indulge or not. Well-meaning friends and family compound the problem with delicious holiday treats and homemade gifts. So how can you find balance with all that holiday cheer coming your way?
Unfortunately, there is no single easy answer. But thankfully, this list of 10 ways to avoid putting on pounds this holiday season will help sustain your healthy habits without forcing you to sacrifice all the fun. So go ahead, enjoy the holidays guilt-free!
1. Keep a Food Diary
As inconvenient as it might seem, make sure to keep track of what you’re putting in your body. Start a food diary, or continue to do so if you already track your food consumption. There are many apps and printable templates available online to make it easy. A food diary is a great tool to keep you on track, especially during the holiday season when it’s easy to consume little extras here and there without thinking about it. Writing down exactly what you eat and drink will create a healthy mindfulness about your eating habits. If you see that you have overindulged one day, you can plan to tighten the reins the next day to compensate. Just make sure to be completely honest about your meals or portion sizes.
2. Weigh Yourself…Weekly
Yes, everyone hates the dreaded step up onto the scale, but weekly weigh-ins will hold you accountable. Seeing a pound of weight gain over a week or two may be the jolt you need to avoid further gain the rest of the month. Admittedly, keeping tabs on how much you weigh won’t prohibit weight gain, but it will make you aware of it.
3. Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping a meal before a big holiday gathering is a classic tactic to “save room for the good stuff”. The idea is to save your calories to splurge on all the decadent treats you’ve been looking forward to. Don’t do it! Skipping a meal will only set you up for an all-out binge because you’re way too hungry. Going to a feast on an empty stomach is one of the worst ways you can sabotage yourself. Rather, enjoy sensible meals the rest of the day with lots of nutrient-dense foods. If your body is well-fueled, it will be easier to enjoy reasonable portions of your favorite holiday foods instead of ravenously scarfing down everything in sight.
4. Sign Up for a Holiday Fitness Event
There are many different fitness events centered around the holidays, such as 5K walk/runs, community work-outs, and charity races. Chances are, if you sign up to participate, you will follow through with the necessary training leading up to it. You can even make it a fun new holiday tradition with your whole family!
5. Use Plate Real Estate Wisely
When at holiday gatherings, use small plates instead of big ones and be picky about what you put on them. Don’t waste valuable plate space on junk food like crackers, bread, or chips. Choose items that will fill you up and have at least some nutritional value, such as composed salads, proteins, fruit, and vegetable casseroles.