With the end of the holidays approaching, it’s important to practice healthy living. The holidays are a tough time maintaining healthy habits, what with all the candy, turkeys, roast beasts, alluring television, cold weather, and peppermint schnapps.
The common refrain is that the average person gains 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years. People stop working out as much because of a busy schedules, the Holidays bring a lot of stress, and the whole thing is just one big eating frenzy. It’s ripe for gaining weight.
But 5-10 pounds? Seems like a lot right? It turns out that number is inflated; the actual number is closer to 2 pounds. So let’s not blow everything out of proportion and freak out. If you let yourself go a bit and indulge in the festivities, you’re not going to wake up with an extra 15 pounds of baggage. Most likely.
But if you really want to live healthy this holiday season, here are some tips from your friends at The Healthy Foundation.
Take It Easy on the Alcohol
Alcohol has lots of calories. Drinking it also inhibits your ability to judge how many calories you’re in-taking from the rest of the holiday food. And finally, you’re less likely to work out after drinking. So all in all, practicing moderation with alcohol is the first step towards a healthy holiday.
Stay Aware of Social Pressures
There is lots of social pressure to engage in unhealthy practices during the holidays. It’s often not as overt as your uncle pressuring you to drink a beer. It’s more subtle. When you hear everyone talking about how much they are going to overeat or how unhealthy they are going to be during the holidays, it gives you tacit approval to engage in these behaviors as well because you deem them socially acceptable.
Be aware of this form of social pressure and don’t let the limits you set be influenced by the limits of others (or lack thereof). Speaking of…
Set Realistic Limits
The biggest part of successfully navigating the holiday’s health pitfalls is intentionality. Knowing how you want to act is the first, second, and third steps to actually acting that way.
Before the big holiday stretch, sit down and write out the limits you’d like to set. Here are some questions to get you started:
- How many portions do I want to eat per meal?
- How many drinks in a night?
- How many nights drinking in a week?
- How often do I want to work out? And for how long?
- What foods or desserts are explicitly off limits?
Writing this list will ensure that you are approaching these healthy living challenges with the intention and resolve to conquer them.
However, this requires that you set realistic goals. The biggest mistake people make is setting unrealistic goals and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Reaching your goals requires the self-assurance that you can. Setting tough goals is great, but consistently failing to meet impossible or unrealistic goals only undermines your confidence and makes it that much harder to reach that next goal you set.
Grab a Smaller Plate
This is a simple one and it works. When our body is trying to decide whether it’s full, it actually relies much more upon the eyes than it does on the stomach. If you still have food on your plate, your eyes are sending messages to your brain that you’re not done eating, even if your stomach is emphatically trying to tell you otherwise.
Using a smaller plate minimizes this effect. You’ll find yourself filling up much quicker and being less tempted to head back for seconds.