The gatherings, feasts, and parties that make the Holidays so great can also pack extra pounds on your waistline before you know it.
But is it really necessary to avoid all the fun just to keep your health and fitness goals on track?
Heck no! Your fitness and nutrition program is supposed to help you enjoy life more, not prevent you from doing so.
So to help you enjoy the upcoming holidays without ruining your fitness results, AND without guilt, we’ve put together this Top 10 list for you.
Tip #1: Don’t arrive hungry.
Before leaving for your event, make sure you had a piece of fruit and or veggies, and a HUGE glass of water.
This will do 2 things; it will make it easier for you to control your portions, and it will allow you to enjoy the event or celebration you are at by being able to focus on the people or situations around you rather than the food.
Tip #2: Start out with a large pitcher/glass of water.
Drink water freely before, during and after your meal. If you want to zest it up, squeeze some lemon, lime, or orange in it to add some flavor. Hey, if you really like spice in your life, put a couple dashes of hot sauce in it.
Tip #3: Take control.
In order to be successful in anything, you have to be so focused on your goal that NOTHING will stop you from carrying out the steps you know are necessary to reach that goal.
So from the second you sit down in your seat or arrive at your social event, take control of your food intake.
If you are in a restaurant, ask your server not to bring any bread or pre-meal snack to your table. If you are at a party and appetizers are already out, try to choose a veggie first if you must pick something.
If you are going to a celebration or function and have the opportunity to bring a dish, bring something you know you can feel good about eating; a veggie platter with a hummus or salsa dip, a fruit salad, or even a great veggie salad and a low calorie dressing (on the side of course).
There can be a lot of awkwardness a person can feel when having to order certain foods and make special requests in front of others. You cannot care what the server thinks, what the other guests think, what your friends may say or think. It is NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS, it is ONLY YOUR BUSINESS.
Get over the embarrassment if you have any. When you reach your nutrition program goal you will be proud of the fact that you had the commitment, will power, and dedication to stick to your guns. Set an example for yourself and others.
Tip #4: Put the right things on your plate.
When making your plate or ordering off the menu, be sure that you select a variety of nutritious foods. Go for proteins like lean meats, chicken, turkey, and fish; lots of any kind of vegetables; and something starchy like rice or pasta.
Example: baked fish, rice and green beans. If you had bread before your meal then you would omit the rice.
Butter, salad dressings, cheeses, creamy sauces, etc., should be put on the side and used sparingly, if possible.
Tip #5: Keep the wrong things off your plate.
No fried foods (yes, that includes fried potatoes), bacon, croutons, cheese, creamy sauces, crusted anything – i.e. pecan-crusted fish. If fries come with your meal, replace them with a vegetable.
Tip#6: Set a rule for drinking alcohol.
Alcohol is metabolized as sugar and basically has no nutritional value.
It can also affect your judgment and steer you away from your goals. Once your guard is down and you start to rationalize eating or drinking too much of the wrong things, it’s all over.
That being said, I understand there are times when you are going to make the decision to drink. This is where your discipline and your personal desire to reach your goal has got to be strong.
Limit yourself to 2, that’s right, 2 drinks: preferably wine, light beer, or 1 ounce/shot of alcohol in a mixed drink.
You’ll like yourself a lot better in the morning 🙂
Tip #7: Control your portion sizes.
You may not be able to control how much food is served to you, but you can control how much you eat. Follow these simple nutrition program guidelines:
- 1 carbohydrate serving = the size of your fist,
- 1 protein serving = the size (including thickness) of your palm, without the fingers,
- 1 fat serving = the size of the TIP of your thumb.
Tip #8: Eat your portions, leave or box up the rest.
Once you’ve had the portion sizes listed above, stop eating! Get rid of your plate. If you’re at a restaurant, take the rest to go – but don’t eat it as soon as you get home!
Tip #9: Set a rule for dessert.
Hopefully, you have filled yourself up with enough water and vegetables, and you will have the will power to resist the peer pressure of “come on, you can have a little”, or “one won’t hurt you” and not order dessert.
But, if you must order dessert, the best choice would be a fruit cup or fist size portion of sorbet/sherbet. If that’s not possible, just keep your portion real small.
Tip #10: Don’t stress yourself out.
Just do the best you can. If you go a little overboard, resolve to get back on track with your nutrition program the next day. It’s the Holidays, after all.
And if you’re struggling to maintain your willpower, just whisper to yourself:
“Nothing Tastes As Good As Healthy Feels!”