You Can Stay Slim and Healthy During the Holidays
So maybe you’ve been eating clean, or avoiding fast food this year. Maybe you’re on a losing streak (with weight that is) and want to continue on that path to smaller jeans. Your train is heading for Smallville…. next stop Slender Town. Then along come the Holidays. You know, that time of year when all diets go out the window. All bets are off! Calories don’t count on Turkey day, right? There’s no question that it’s challenging to resist unhealthy, diet busting temptations when there are Christmas cookies at the office, cocktail parties every weekend, and let’s face it, pumpkin pie is a tradition. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah are super special, but dangerous times when people tend to get derailed. Here are some tips to help you stay on track with your health goals.
The Food Coma
You know that feeling after you’ve had two servings of everything at the buffet table? It’s time to take a nap, and change your pants because suddenly you are uncomfortable. But then dessert gets passed around, and somehow we all find room for pie. After all, Nana made it from scratch. It would be rude to pass it up. Certain delicious treats only come around once a year, so by all means partake with your family and enjoy, but be mindful of your portions. Size does matter. Try taking sampler size servings of each food item that looks appealing. Eat slowly, and savor. Wait 20 minutes before deciding on seconds, giving your brain the chance to get the message that you’re full. Listen to your body. Are you still hungry? It is likely that you are satisfied, and have just enough room for a mini piece of pie.
Chew, chew, chew
In Ayurvedic teachings, we are advised to try to chew each bite up to 30 times for the best digestion, and to really be present and enjoy our food. This will help our bellies feel better later, and just might prevent an accidental binge.
This is something that I teach my clients. I don’t tell them they can’t have their favorite foods that are sabotaging their health. I teach them to incrementally crowd them out by adding in healthful options to their diet. When loading up the plate, make sure at least half of it is laden with delicious vegetables. This leaves less room for mashed potatoes and gravy.
Sure, but not on your plate. Be Bold With Colors. Decorate your dish with beautiful anthocyanin-rich foods. Anthocyanin is a plant compound that acts as an effective antioxidant within the human body. It is also a color pigment that gives many fruits and berries a blue, red or dark purple hue and is found in a wide assortment of healthy foods. The more colors you have in your diet the better the array of nutrients, antioxidants and polyphenols you are feeding your cells. Reach for colorful foods like roasted beets, yams, cranberries, blueberries, carrots, eggplant, purple asparagus, and don’t forget those greens!
While it is always important to stay hydrated, this can be a useful tool to staying full. Often times when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water next time you reach for the chips and dip, and see how you feel. A glass before mealtime can also decrease your odds of over indulgence. Drinking water with your meal can dilute your stomach acids, leading to less efficient digestion, so be sure to be well hydrated before the feast hits the table.
Don’t go to the Party Hungry
Cocktail parties are fun, but no place for someone looking to drop a few pounds. The snacks are usually carb loaded, processed food-like substances. If you choose to have a few drinks, remember that your appetite will increase, while your ability to give a darn will decrease. Enough said.
Weigh the Risks
It is helpful for people who are trying to lose weight to step on a scale regularly. Monitoring your weight at least once a week is a good idea, not only to see if you need to make adjustments to your routine, but it’s a fantastic motivator to see your progress. Hit the scale before a party. Check in on the morning of Thanksgiving, or when you know an abundant feast is on the agenda. If you are aware of your results, this will make you less likely to blow everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve. I do want to discourage obsessing, and weighing in every morning. Your weight will fluctuate even throughout each day, and this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, and your body.
Daily exercise is necessary for our bodies to remain healthy. Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking.* You’ll need to exceed that if you are trying to lose weight. I recommend 40 minutes to an hour, at least 5 days a week. Make sure to allow for one day of rest.
Turkey You Can Feel Good About
Buying organic is always best when it comes to poultry. Organic poultry represent a two-stage process. First, the farmer does not use any chemicals, antibiotics or roughage fillers when raising the birds, as well as giving them access to the outdoors and direct sunlight, as with free range. These birds have access to the outside and the ability to move about a yard. This increased mobility helps to develop muscle, contributing to a more fully flavored and complex meat. In addition, the animal’s feed must be raised without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. These birds tend to be more expensive, but are potentially the finest and fullest flavored available.** For more information about labeling guidelines visit USDA.
Real Food vs. Processed
Avoiding processed foods, or eating clean means eating foods that rarely come with an ingredient list. It is as close to it’s natural form as possible. For example, real cheese is a healthier option than the cheese-like substance that comes from a can. Definitely not the same thing! Canned cranberry sauce may be what Grandpa is used to, but homemade is always best. Stuffing or potato dishes that come from a box are going to be processed and loaded with artificial ingredients, fillers, chemicals, and most likely, excess sodium. The ingredient label is a mile long. My rule is, if you can’t pronounce it, then denounce it. Real food that nourishes our bodies can’t be replaced with artificial, chemicalized, junk food if our desire is to live long, healthy, vibrant, disease-free lives.
I am a certified Health Coach as well as a personal fitness trainer. I specialize in working with busy moms and corporate professionals that struggle to find the time to nurture their mind, body and spirit. I help my clients discover that they can experience healing and optimum health through real food. I empower people to take their health into their own hands, to achieve a healthy, balanced, and fulfilling life, and be their very best self. I do not put people on a diet. As a Health Coach, my mission is to help my clients make incremental lifestyle changes that help them to not simply survive, but to thrive!
“Weigh Less, Live More”
Join me for a fun and interesting workshop entitled “Weigh Less, Live More” on January 6th, from 5:30-6:30 at Atascadero Bible Church. Please R.S.V.P. as spots are limited.
I offer private and group coaching packages. Sessions are held in person, or via phone or Skype. My next group coaching circle begins January 20th. Spots are still available, so contact me if you are interested in joining.
Call or email for a free 50-minute health consultation!
Certified Health Coach & Personal Trainer
Strive to Thrive!
*American Council on Exercise, Personal Trainer Manual