As November begins to wind down, we are officially in the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and breaks for school and work calls for a lot of overeating. In my family, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the biggest holidays as far as cooking. If you add the bounty of food that magically appears on our tables with cold and wet weather, you can find yourself packing on the pounds and picking up bad habits. So how do you fight temptation and avoid putting “lose weight” back on your New Year’s resolution list?
- Learn to say no: Easier said than done, especially when you’re from a family who thrives on feasts during this time of year. When someone asks you if you would like another helping, reply with “no thank you”. Overindulging is going to hurt you a lot more than declining is going to hurt them. Yes, some family members see it as rude, but they’ll get over it. Do what’s right for your body.
- Enlist a family walk after dinner: If you’ve overate along with everyone else, you’re probably not the only one who feels like they’re about to pop. Ask your family members if anyone is interested in walking off some of that food after dinner. Give your food enough time to digest, and burn some of those new calories. It can become a new family tradition, like the Great Turkey Day Waddle.
- Bring the salad: Not enough healthy food at the gathering? Be the one responsible for bringing a healthy option. A salad is always welcome with any type of cuisine. You certainly won’t be the only one eating it. I’ve never been to an event where a salad has gone untouched. It doesn’t even have to be salad. Find a healthy alternative to a dish that’s regularly at your celebration.
- Ask for healthy gifts: If you’re concerned about your health or your weight, ask for diet or fitness related gifts for Christmas. If you’re adamant about eating better or being more active, put some lively items on your list like new workout gear, a gym membership, or a new juicer. When people are aware how health conscious you are, you’re sure to get some additional support, and some tools to keep that healthy lifestyle going.
- Opt for soft drinks: Alcohol consumption certainly rises during the holidays, and this is a sure way to gain a few pounds without noticing. Instead of indulging in the open bar at all the holiday parties, choose club soda or water instead of bottomless margaritas and shots that never end. If you still want to be festive, ask for the virgin version without alcohol. And remember, don’t drink and drive!
- Bring your gym with you: Many people travel for the holidays, and they complain that not having their gym is why they can’t work out. Bring your gym with you! You can pack things like resistance bands, yoga mats, and workout DVDs with you to keep your exercise routine consistent while you’re away from your gym.
- Wash your hands: Tis the time of the sniffles and the sneezes. Germs are running wild with so many people out shopping, leaving their coughs and sneezes uncovered. Utilize those antibacterial wipes. Keep some waterless antibacterial soap with you while you’re out, and don’t forget to frequently wash you hands. At the first hint of a cold or flu, take necessary precautions like medicine, lots of fluids, and plenty of rest.
- Enjoy yourself: Too many people mention how stressed this time of year makes them. Don’t let the little things get to you! If your family acts crazy during dinner, learn to expect it and not be disappointed when the arguments begin. Can’t find the much wanted gift for your child? A gift card will do, and they’ll get the gratification of picking up their present themselves. Relax, these are supposed to be happy times. The world won’t end of something doesn’t go right.
Cheating should be allowed on your diet and exercise routine, but don’t take this as a break for the rest of the year. Stay motivated, stay relaxed, and stay festive!
What do you plan on doing to stay healthy this holiday season?
After-dinner walks (or saunters, in our case), are also a great way to visit with family members and catch up. No distractions, just talking.
You’re definitely right! Too many distractions in the home. Sometimes you need a change in scenery.
Saying no is the hardest thing for me to do. It is something that I have always struggled with. I find myself wanting to eat healthy many times, but I am often not supported by the members of my family around me.
I say give it a practice try. Be slower to respond. A lot of our unhealthy eating is on impulse. Take time to really think about what you’re agreeing to before you agree to it.
We really like to take a walk post meal. Get the blood pumping and start the calorie burn.
One other thing I would add is to figure out your best method to handle stress and get ready to use it!
I like that! If you prepare for handling stress ahead of time, you’re already winning.
I tend to overeat because I do not have many of these treats in my house. I plan on eating less of it. If not, I will exercise more to get rid of it.
Yeah being exposed to the rare delicacies definitely causes us to overindulge. Try to eat them sparingly and maybe take some home to make them last.
The bringing your gym with you is a major issue for me. I hate when I get out of my routine. Thus, simply having familiar components of my home gym eliminates the disruption in my routine. I’ve been doing this a lot lately because my traveling has increased recently.
What equipment do you have in your home gym Roshawn? Any routine you find particularly helpful?
It may also be a good idea to stay away from family altogether! I mean, many times, family is a huge source of stress. Or, at the very least limit the visits to manageable increments.
LOL That’s true Eric. Some families just bring on too much stress. Send a holiday card and call it a day. Or plan to stay for 20 minutes and leave.
And to clarify, I wasn’t specifically talking about MY family for anyone who thinks I’m already strange!
Keep it short and sweet to avoid the stress that leads to the overeating, heart palpitations, and high blood pressure
Great tips Briana. I find it very difficult saying no in the holidays, there are so many delicious foods to sample, drinks to consume, and friends to laugh with. Everything in moderation!
Exactly Hunter. If you use moderation, you’ll be fine. If you load up on something, you’ll miss out on things.
I’m starting a new exercise plan this month! Dangerous, I know, but I’m really excited for it. Plus, it’s on DVD so I can take it with me for the holidays. I’m also going to do my best to lay off the sweets.
Great job Jeffrey! What type of plan are you going to do?
I dont really do the post dinner walk thing, usually I try to play games – also, its getting rather cold here. I think my most important one is to not let your routine go out the window. I even ran a 5k on thanksgiving with my family.
I take for granted I live in constantly sunny SoCal. So my cold is like 60 degrees haha, so walking may not be the best for some people. I’m jealous of your 5k! How did it go?
Saying no? Difficult – particularly to chocolate and nuts; nightmare. But we do the after dinner walks and I do wash my hand (in fact a bit OCD about it).
Constantly washing your hands will keep you away from those germs spread by contact, so keep on washing! And saying no to chocolate is probably the hardest thing ever, but if you look at the nutrition facts on it, it’s easier to turn it down.
Family walk after dinner is a great idea. We did it also but recently we sort of stopped. The reason is… it’s just too cold to even walk. During winter, this just isn’t an option unless you live in area where there is no winter.
I do lol we’ve had an 80 degree Christmas before, so I take that for granted. Hmm there’s gotta be an alternative. Family Wii tournament? Hehe
those are some great common sense tips. I’m a huge fan of the after dinner walk. In response to USMoney above, I will say that I live in Manitoba, Canada, and that the cold is actually a positive thing if your acclimatized. I always feel sleepy and groggy after I predictably overeat, and this always wakes me up!
A swift breeze can also get the blood flowing too, which may lead to more calories being burned. Bundle up!
Awesome tips! I liked learning to say no. Too often I would overeat so I wouldn’t offend anyone. But you are totally right. Who’s waistline is suffering? Not theirs!
I used to have a hard time saying no too. I also didn’t want to not try everything. Now I just pick and choose and eat in moderation. Works much better.
I find it really hard to stay healthy especially with all the goodies and the treats (hello, starbucks egg nog lattes??)
That’s what new years resolutions are for, right? lol.
Way to make excuses Y and T. lol. Yes it can be hard during the holidays for sure. One thing I try to do is to still fit in my workouts. At least that way I am still burning some sort of extra calories while I am eating more than normal.
Good tips! I like to eat slowly, like extra slowly so I don’t gorge myself too much. Takes 20 min to register that something is in our tummies!
It is so hard to eat slow though isn’t it? I have tried but sometimes I am either in a hurry or just plain starving. I do wait until I go back for seconds though.
Good point on learning to say no! I always tend to overextend myself during the holidays so I needed to reminded to take a step back and realize what I can’t commit to.
I overextend myself too sometimes. My mom in law just cooks too many good desserts. I am getting better at just having one piece now though.