There were many years of holidays where I struggled sticking with my weight loss plan and exercise. Working in an office environment, there was always candy bowls, cookie platters, lunches out, holiday parties…many temptations. It was hard to resist goodies, especially since I’ve always had a sweet tooth, when they are so readily available. I also had made my own tradition of making huge homemade cookie platters to give out at Christmas time, and of course I had to taste test each one…from every batch!
But I had to make a choice. What was more important to me, the temporary satisfaction of whatever I was eating and drinking, or the emotional struggles I went through at my heaviest weight every time I looked in the mirror or felt uncomfortable in my clothes. I chose emotional and physical health over temporary satisfaction…I chose life! I looked at food differently. I became creative with my cooking so I wouldn’t get bored with “plain” food. I’m human, I still deal with cravings, I just find healthier ways to satisfy them. I also started to create healthier versions of some traditional holiday meals and treats, even Christmas cookies. I just don’t make platters anymore lol! I started to bring healthy treats into the office; in a beautiful holiday presentation…it makes a big difference! I also found it helpful to avoid certain events where there were too many temptations. If I did attend any parties or dinners I would always bring a healthy dish or dessert so that I would always have a healthy option.
I never feel like I am depriving myself or missing out on certain foods. I feel like I have the control to make good choices, and the discipline to indulge a bit when I need to.
Tips to Stay Fit and Healthy During the Holidays
Start a Family Fitness Tradition
There are tons of family holiday themed running events in most areas. Sign up the whole family for a fun Jingle Jog. Before you know it, the annual race will become a family tradition.
Snack Before Events
Always eat a protein-filled snack before going out to dinner or a party. This can keep you full and satisfied, which may help from overindulging while out. Try some of these:
- A cup of Greek yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese
- Twelve almonds
- Low-fat, low-sodium deli turkey or chicken
- Half an apple with half a tablespoon of peanut butter
- Protein Bar (high fiber)
Set Short Term Goals
Schedule a 5k race, or a weight loss goal, or even a fitness or weight loss competition between friends or family. Everything is good in moderation, but when you have training or a goal in the next month or two, then you’re less likely to throw off your fitness by overindulging for an entire week. The short-term goals keep you in check.
Stay on Schedule
No matter how much you feel you are way off your healthy eating during the holidays, it is important to stay active and to stay on your normal schedule as soon as possible. If you eat three cookies at a holiday party, don’t skip breakfast the next morning to make up for it. Just make sure to exercise more and finish the day with a light dinner to make up for the caloric excess.
When trying to eat healthy around the holidays, it can be difficult to avoid the many temptations. If you are attending a potluck, take a low calorie dish so that you have at least one healthy choice. Good options include a vegetable platter, fruit platter, hummus, and black bean dip.