We are ONE week into December already and that means we are half way through the Holiday Season! Hopefully you all have been able to use my first five tips so far and have been able to keep the Holiday weight gain at bay. As part of the Maintain, Don’t Gain Program, I have 5 more tips to help you get through the rest of the Holiday Season and start the New Year off right!
Tip #6 - Limit the party foods for special occasions and stick with your basic healthy food sources. Now I know I love my pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and my mom’s green bean casserole on Christmas day, but it is important to eat these favorite Holiday dishes in moderation and to save the splurges for special occasions. Eating leftovers for days after the Holiday party may seem like no big deal, but those calories add up and lead to an unhealthy lifestyle behavior! My tip is to pick your favorite Holiday dish and eat an appropriate amount on the day of the celebration only, then go back to your normal routine with healthier food sources.
Tip #7 - Eat seasonally and add more color to your plate. The Holiday Season is a perfect time of the year to eat nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables that peak in the winter months. Think baked apple slices with cinnamon instead of apple pie for extra potassium and fiber without the fat and sugar. Add colorful Pomegranate seeds to your favorite winter salad for an extra boost of Vitamin C and Vitamin K and benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of those tiny bright red seeds! Try adding more butternut squash to your diet for its anti-inflammatory effects and to boost serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) or sweet potatoes to improve your eye sight and skin health. When it starts to get a little cold outside, make a broth-based soup with a bunch of colorful root vegetables for a dose of antioxidants that will warm you up and provide a host of health benefits.
Tip #8 - Boost your immune system to avoid getting sick over the holidays. Stay protected against the common cold by cooking up some immune boosting recipes that include superfoods, vitamin c, zinc, and probiotics. Eat more avocados, flaxseed and chia seeds, citrus fruits high in vitamin C, sweet potatoes, garlic & onions, and low-fat Greek yogurt with plenty of probiotics for optimal gut health and immunity.
Tip #9 - Watch the alcohol! We also need to be mindful about how much alcohol we consume over the Holidays as those calories add up too! Many Holiday cocktails, such as White Russians and Espresso Martinis, can contain as many calories as a normal meal and too much alcohol in one sitting can lead to unhealthy food choices and, even worse, chronic diseases later in life. If you do drink alcohol, try to stick with 1-2 drinks per day and choose clear liquor with soda water, light beer, or red wine. And remember 1 drink is equal to 1.5oz of liquor, 12oz of beer, and 5oz of wine, so be mindful of how much you are consuming each day. And if you don’t drink alcohol, even better!
Tip #10 - Listen to your body and practice intuitive eating. This tip is especially important for maintaining a healthy weight and following a healthy lifestyle well into the New Year! Intuitive Eating is a practice of “freeing oneself from chronic dieting” and “making peace with food” in order to reach one’s healthy natural weight. Intuitive Eating focuses on listening to your body and responding to your own hunger cues. Instead of eating out of boredom and snacking on empty calories, listen to your body’s cues to discover if you are physically hungry or just desire to eat out of boredom or due to emotions we may be feeling. The main goal is to eat when you feel hungry (about a 3-4 on the hungry scale of 1 – 10, with one meaning “I am starving / ravenous” and 10 meaning “I am so full, I feel sick) and to stop eating when you physically feel full (about a 7 on the hungry scale, meaning “I am satisfied”). It’s all about taking the time to taste your food, savor your food, and enjoy your food. Intuitive Eating is simply just eating as nature intended, paying attention to real hunger with nourishing foods that you enjoy. Overall, Intuitive Eating leads to a healthy relationship with food and weight loss and is far superior to any dieting strategies out there!
So as we near the end of the Holiday Season, let’s say goodbye to dieting and welcome eating mindfully; with a purpose and desire to treat your body right and live as healthy and happy as you can!
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you have a very happy (and delicious) ending to the Holiday Season!