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As we approach the Holiday season many people begin to stress about social events, food and exercise. Would you believe me if I told you, this could be the year you stressed LESS and enjoyed food MORE?! I hope so, because it IS possible. Call me your Mini Macro Elf as I sprinkle some holiday cheer and provide you with my TOP 10 Holiday tricks.
1. Toss the scale out the window this season.
– Chronic weighing is only going to drive you crazy and cause Yo-Yo dieting in between parties and events. Check your weight now and forget about it til the New Year! Instead be mindful of how your clothes are fitting and how you are feeling. If you can’t button those pants, feel tired, sluggish and bloated, then you may need to reel back the indulgences and focus more on whole foods. Make sure to incorporate those healthy fruits and veggies into your daily routine and use those sugary treats sparingly. The scale often reflects bloat and water weight during this time of year. After consuming some extra sugar we are often retaining water and see the scale go up. This will cause stress, food restriction and typically binging. You will continue this cycle all season and make no progress. This is why I recommend tossing the scale til the New Year. With that being said I do not recommend skipping the gym and eating all the food til January! Be smart, mindful, and balanced this holiday season.
2. Schedule your exercise routine this Holiday Season.
– We all get super crazy this time of year and it is very easy to forget about YOU! Schedule time to work out for 20, 30 or 60min…whatever you have time for. Go for a run, walk, hit the weights, or plan a home workout. No matter what it is, schedule yourself an appointment 3-5 days per week. You will thank yourself come January 1st.
3. Find snacks you can take with you on the go… especially on those long Christmas shopping trips!
– With all the holiday shopping, events, and errands we often find ourselves out and about without food. When hunger strikes we easily turn to whatever is within reach and during this time of year cookies, cakes, and treats are never too far. Find some simple snacks you can leave in your purse, gym bag or car.
Simple items I recommend are:
Nut packs, Granola Bars, G2G bars, Rx Bar, Tuna Packet, Pre-measured Protein Powder.
If you are looking for some homemade goods, head over to my food section! (FOOD LINK)
4. Plan ahead if you have a Party!
– This time of year is filled with holiday gatherings! If you already know you are going to be indulging in some goodies at a party, then plan your day accordingly. I recommend having a light breakfast and lunch with a small snack mixed in. Maybe keep the protein a little higher in the day and carbs/fats on the lighter side. This way you can have some appetizers, sweets and maybe even an adult drink. You can enjoy GUILT-FREE knowing you were prepared for this and saved up some extra calories/macros.
5. Opt for the Appetizer/Salad Plate and not the Dinner plate
– When attending social gatherings during the holidays reach for the smaller plate instead of the king-sized one. When we have a smaller plate we often times have better portion control- after all you can only fit so much on that salad plate. If you find yourself hungry after you finished your plate, then go back for fruit or vegetables. Say no to 2nds of the indulgent goods. I always preach BALANCE…. you do not need 2nds, one serving was enough. Sip water and eat some vegetables if you are truly hungry.
6. Try to socialize AWAY from the food.
– It is so easy to talk and eat the night away especially when you are standing right by all the food. Try and take your conversations away from the food table and focus on the company/conversation. Being aware of this alone will help with the mindless eating and save 100’s of calories.
7. Holiday Cookies!!!
– No need to explain this! What about all the cookies we acquire from parties, neighbors and home-baking? You cannot let them go to waste right? I do not recommend tossing those cookies in the trash (how wasteful). Rather bring them to the local hospital, public safety station or homeless shelter. I know the holidays are not complete without cookies, but try to avoid hoarding a few dozen at a time. This year tailor the amount you make and designate a home for the cookies you do make. Allow yourself to keep some, but freeze them and take out a limited amount. This way when the cookies are gone for the week, they are gone. You can pull some from the freezer the next week. Do not refrain all together, allow a cookie to slip into your diet here and there. You deserve to enjoy, but not binge.
8. Holiday Cocktails?
Photo by kieferpix/iStock / Getty Images
Again, we all need a drink during the holiday season! When enjoying an adult beverage try and opt for the least amount of sugar. I always recommend Clear Liquor and diet mix-ins. Wine and Beer are ok, but just know the alcohol carbs are going to be a bit higher than your tequilas, vodkas and rums. My go-to drink is Vodka, soda water and Dasani Apple Drops, Mmmmmm. It’s a subtle drink with minimal calories. When you start adding simple syrups, sugary sodas, juices and cocktail mixes the calories add up. Also, do not drink the night away… make sure you are drinking water and staying hydrated.
– Many of you can relate to feeling tired and stressed from November-January. We often do not get enough sleep, which leads to increased cortisol levels (those pesky hormones), stress eating and ultimately weight gain. It is so important to get those coveted 7-8 hours. It will leave you feeling like St. Nick and not the Grinch. We all want to be jolly during the holiday season without all the Santa jiggle. So, get your sleep in order to keep those cortisol levels at bay and prevent the unneeded weight gain.
10. ENJOY YOURSELF!!
My last tip is to ENJOY! Do not stress yourself out all season with what you can and cannot eat. Do not obsess about the gym 6 days a week and then beat yourself up when it does not happen. Do not feel guilty for the extra cookie, just be smart! You will notice I did not once talk about tracking your MACROS! Why? Because I know this is not always realistic when you are new to dieting, trying to manage a family, plan the holidays, attend parties and be social. If you are trying to track and already feel stressed, this can intensify during the holidays. Now, I am not saying you do not have to track if you already are, but I am not harping on this topic. Please practice moderation this season, enjoy some food and drinks, but most importantly make memories! We often times put too much emphasis on the gym and food, that it robs us of the JOYs we should be experiencing this time of year. The gym will be there tomorrow, but we do not always get a chance to have that cup of coco with our kiddos or bake those cookies with our moms. I am not an all or nothing person. I am a firm believer in living a healthy and sustainable life.
Please be safe this holiday season and eat a cookie for me!