No need to drop your healthy habits through the holidays!

Photo Credit: Shining Mountain Health & Wellness

Work parties, friends’ dinners, family gatherings. What do they each have in common during the holiday season? Food, food and more food.  Everywhere we turn, there is a plate of goodies in our sight. Cookies, candy, cake and so much more! The temptation seems to be around every corner.  How do we resist or lessen our desire to eat them? Let’s be honest, we will indulge. But, how much we do is something that is under our control.

If you know you are going to a party, don’t save up your calories. Going on an empty stomach is like shopping on an empty stomach. You buy things you don’t really want or need because you are hungry. Instead of starving yourself, make sure you eat your meals, concentrating on protein, non-starchy veggies and fiber. This way, you will have some control over your hunger and what you choose. It is also a good idea to take a look at all of the food offered before filling your plate. Take smaller portions of the goodies and larger portions of the veggies, fruit and protein.

What about beverages? If you can manage to drink water or seltzer, you can save yourself some calories. Drinking high calorie beverages like eggnog and cider can add up easily and our bodies can still manage to eat plenty.

Stand away from the food. It might sound simple but if the food is out of your sight, you won’t eat as much. Out of sight, out of mind. Keep your hands occupied when you can. Have a glass of water or seltzer in one hand and greet people with the other. If you are standing by the food, you will likely eat without thinking.

Be mindful. Take your time when you eat. Notice the flavors and textures and how the food was prepared. When you slow down to eat, you will experience fullness and eat less. It takes time for our brains to register when we’ve had enough.  If you eat fast until you are full, you will overeat!

Is a party all about food? Think about the other things that are happening. Taking time to visit with people, making new connections or visit with family and friends. Notice the surroundings, decorations, how people are dressed. Enjoy some music and perhaps do some dancing!

Don’t give up on your healthy habits! The holidays can be a stressful time and we may tend to give up on eating healthy and exercising.  However, this is when we really need to stay on track. Exercise is known to relieve stress and healthy eating keeps us going throughout the season. Stay moving, even if it is just a small walk after dinner with your family. Instead of making a commitment that you will start healthy habits come the new year, continue to add healthy lifestyle changes throughout the season. You will be proud of yourself and maybe feel a little bit lighter!

So, go ahead and keep those healthy habits and bring along a loved one to share them with!

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