Posted on December 13, 2023 at 12:42 PM by Iowa Weight Loss Specialists
The holiday season is here, and with it comes more social gatherings and some not so “diet-friendly” foods. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed and a chance to spend time with family and friends, but for many they can be stressful and challenging to navigate. People may feel pressure to obsess over their healthy habits or just let loose and therefore either derail their goals or miss out on favorite treats and traditions. However, it is possible to enjoy the holidays AND stay on track. Check out these strategies on how to take part in the festivities while sticking to your plan:
The most important thing is to enjoy the holiday and try not to stress about what to eat or not eat. We know, easier said than done. Keep in mind that holidays are just a few days out of 365. You can guiltlessly indulge in your favorite foods, hang out with friends and family, and return to your normal routine the next day. Aim for consistency, not perfection. A good method to follow is the 80/20 rule: stick to your plan 80% of the time and be flexible 20% of the time.
Water intake can decrease when you’re out of your typical routine. Make a commitment to hit your water goal throughout the holiday season. Go for low-calorie, non-sugar-sweetened options to get in adequate fluids. Be mindful of your alcohol habits as people often drink more this time of year.
Protein helps keep you feeling full. Incorporate a source at each meal to help balance out the higher-carb and fat holiday favorites like cookies. Many holiday meals include protein such as turkey and ham.
Like protein, dietary fiber helps with feeling full. Aim to include a “plant” with your protein at meals, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Make your plate colorful and be sure to include a variety of food groups.
Skipping meals can often lead to overeating. Try to avoid the mentality of “saving calories” for a large meal later in the day that will leave you feeling stuffed and uncomfortable anyway.
We often find ourselves returning to salty snacks or desserts at holiday gatherings for a small bite here and there. That grazing adds up over the course of the day. Try plating foods as a visual cue for tracking what you are eating.
Listen to your body’s hunger and satiety cues to help prevent overdoing it. Slow down at meals if you are a fast eater. If you have a favorite holiday food, have it and enjoy it! Avoid the foods that you don’t enjoy.
We tend to get out of our normal daily routine during the holidays and this often includes our exercise regimen. Try planning group physical activity during the holiday such as a family walk.