Staying Fit Over the Holidays

It's easy to tell yourself that you can eat or drink whatever you want without giving it a second thought around this time of year.  Food has long been a major ingredient at holiday gatherings.  Doesn't matter if it's an office, non-work organization or family and friends event. 

Folks get to having a good time.  Sweet music is playing on the stereo.  Everyone's feeling good and before you know it, you're plopping another piece of that delicious fudge brownie inside your mouth. 

By the end of December you'll find yourself adding "lose weight" onto your list of New Year's Resolutions.  So how can you avoid gaining 10 to 15 pounds over the holidays? 

Several weeks prior to the holidays (actually, it's beneficial to practice this year round), set up a healthy diet of vegetables and carbs.  This diet is not to lose weight.  However, if you are looking to drop pounds and focusing on eating healthy nets this result for you, then all the better! 

Start eating healthy enough weeks in advance for your brain to become familiar with your new eating patterns.  That way when the holidays roll around, you'll have an in-built mental boundary set that will signal to you when you've gone too far beyond your normal eating routine.  As you get into the habit of eating types (and amounts) of healthy foods, your stomach will also start to send you signals when you go far beyond your normal healthy eating routine.

Don't believe it works?  Have you ever stopped drinking soda and sweet juices and only consumed delicious ice cold water for about a month?  If you drank soda or sweet juice again, did it not taste "way too sweet?" 

That experience let you see how your drinking patterns created healthy boundaries for you that impacted your stomach, appetite and taste.  If you're in the habit of eating and drinking a plenty during the holidays, it might take a few holidays of healthy eating and drinking before you get used to the change.  But if you think healthy eating and drinking is worth it (even during holiday celebrations) you'll stick with it until the change becomes permanent.

Other steps you can take include accurately counting the calories you consume, keeping a food and beverage log, journaling about your eating habits, particularly when you feel "compelled" to eat or drink excessively and treating yourself to cost-free activities when you stick to healthy eating habits.

After all, the focus of holidays are to enjoy the company of family, friends and loved ones.  Make enriching and deepening relationships key during the holidays and year round and let eating and drinking slide down in importance on the list of things you seek to enjoy about the holidays.

All the best!

Denise Hubbing It Up

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