The holidays are often a stressful time of year, which can wreak havoc on your diet. There are holiday parties, office parties, and highly caloric foods surrounding us at every turn. Instead of giving into the subliminal pressure of the environment, and completely indulging in everything without being mindful, make a plan that will help you get through the season without feeling guilty (or ten pounds heavier).
There are two essential elements in surviving and enjoying the holidays: exercise, and a diet plan for parties or places where lots of extra food will be readily available. In terms of exercise, it is important to remain consistent with your routine, regardless of how busy things become. Always make time for it- put it on your schedule as something that must be done. You’ll also find that it helps to alleviate any stress that might surface during this time of year. Regarding diet, while it’s important to have a plan, it’s also necessary to allow for small indulgences within that plan. For example, if you have one or two holiday parties to attend in a week, on the other days, try to maintain a healthy diet with minimal indulgences. At the holiday party, take notice of the spread of food, then decide on a few things you’d really like to have. Put your food on a plate, making sure there are some healthy options, in addition to one or two tastes of some less healthy items. You might have some vegetables with hummus, some nuts, fruit, and a couple of pieces of chocolate or a cookie. When you have finished what is on your plate, then you are finished eating. Period. When choosing to have alcoholic drinks, take your time to sip and enjoy a glass. Before having another, have a glass of water or seltzer, and continue to use this method as necessary. It will slow down your alcohol (and caloric) consumption, while keeping you hydrated.
The holidays can be a joyful time of year that doesn’t have to necessarily be stressful. By continuing to exercise, and having a plan, you can set yourself up to enjoy the spirit of the season, without the cliché weight-loss New Year’s resolution. Remember, it’s about spending quality time with family and friends. By employing these two elements, you can take the stress out of having to make decisions on the fly, allowing you to be more engaged with the people around you.