Surviving The Holidays

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The holidays are here, and with them comes all the delicious food! Family reunions, work parties and gatherings start popping up everywhere and it’s no secret that they include a lot of eating and drinking… and not necessarily the healthy stuff.

It doesn’t mean that all the effort you’ve made through the year will vanish in a matter of weeks. If you stay present and make wise choices while standing over the dessert table, that number on your scale shouldn’t go up.

You don’t need to wait until the first of the year to get started on your resolution list; start making changes right now!

Here are some tips you can start practicing so you can face the holiday’s temptations with confidence while staying on track during this season full of sweets and spirits:

1. Sweat 3-4 times a week. Cooler temperatures, or even snow, are not an excuse to lay around watching T.V. Working out has many benefits: it reduces appetite, burns fat, prevents heart attacks, controls blood sugar levels, combats stress and protects against cancer. When you sweat, your brain releases endorphins boosting your mood… this is the cheapest therapy out there! Your workouts can be simple: go for a walk or a run, a bike ride or hit the gym! Aim to go in the morning so when the holiday commitments and events arise you won’t use them as an excuse.

2. Eat a snack before heading to your festivities. This way you won’t be starving and tempted to eat all the casseroles and desserts. Go for a protein and fiber-packed snack that will keep you full longer. Examples? A plain yogurt with berries or a tbsp. almond butter with berries on a brown rice cake.

3. Make vegetables the star of your plate and try to avoid sweets and heavy sides. You’ll probably find salads and roasted veggies at just about any holiday gathering. If you want to indulge with dessert or with some butter-laden casserole stick to a small portion.

4. Eat slow and chew each bite 30 to 50 times. Engage in meaningful conversations with the people around you, put the fork down after every bite and stay present. This will help you identify when you are really satisfied.

5. Drink a glass of water between each glass of alcoholic drink to avoid a hangover and to keep your body hydrated. Because alcohol is full of empty calories (no nutritional value) it’s best to go for the lower calorie options. Your best bets are red wine (contains antioxidant properties) and vodka with club soda and lime.

6. Make sure to move the following day after any holiday gathering. If you feel sluggish because you ate and drank too much, staying in bed is only going to make you feel worse. Get outside, drink tons of water, eat fruits and vegetables (no, not the candied version) and sweat it all out.

If you realize that you’ve been having too much fun and that all the festivities are catching up with you five pounds at a time, don’t worry. Remember that every meal is a new beginning, an opportunity to choose health over sickness. Once making healthy choices become second nature it’ll be easier, I promise.

Happy Holidays!