Strategies to Stay Slim and Sharp for the Holidays. The holidays, parties, gatherings, and activities revolve a lot around food.
- Tempting food
- Comfort food
- Delicious food
- Fattening, rich, decadent food
AND it is hard to say NO.
No to the people who prepared or procured it with love. No to yourself since you feel you deserve to have a treat.
On the other hand, you do deserve to have a treat.
How can you have your cake and eat it too without derailing your health?
You know if you eat too much, you feel bloated, tired, gain weight, and feel sluggish and hungover, sometimes for days.
You CAN stay slim and sharp during the holidays with these simple strategies.
The CDC1 and Harvard Health2 have some tips:
- Count your carbs – if you are going to have a desert, cut back on other carbs such as potatoes or rice.
- Firstly, don’t host or go to a party hungry and don’t skip meals to save room for overindulgence.
- Bring a healthy dish or host and have some healthy, tasty choices.
- Secondly, drink plenty of water between alcoholic drinks.
- However, be sure to get enough sleep since being tired or sleep deprived is associated with overeating and obesity.3
- Determine ahead of time how many alcoholic drinks you will have. For instance, alcohol will increase your appetite4 and decrease your willpower.
- Choose Carefully
- Don’t fill up your plate with anything, take stock of what is there and choose your favorites.
- Although, if at a buffet, look at everything that is there first to determine what you will or will not eat. Don’t feel that you must have everything.
- After that, fill up with vegetables and only have tastes of the calorie rich. Therefore, high fat, high carb foods that pack on the pounds.
- Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year. Furthermore, have a small serving, and take time to really savor it. Don’t gulp it down.
- Above all, focus on the company, the conversation, and the setting. That is the holiday spirit. This will serve as a distraction from the food and is the very reason for holiday get togethers.
- Choose carefully, chew thoroughly, and savor your food. Really take time to smell and taste it so your digestive enzymes have time to work.
- Take your time when eating, It takes about 20 minutes for you to feel full and your brain to recognize you have eaten.5
- Fast eaters take in more calories. Studies show that eating more slowly resulted in feeling full sooner, and thus eating fewer calories at mealtime.5
- “You can have your cake and eat it, too — as long as you only take a few bites. Take a bite, eat it slowly, savor it, and do nothing but enjoy the flavor, texture, and experience of the delicious dessert. You will find that one or two bites give you the sweet indulgence without a lot of extra calories.”
- Workout before your gathering. Exercise reduces appetite. 6
- Dance if the gathering calls for it. The movement will burn calories, decrease appetite, and distract from overeating.
- Moreover, take a walk after your meal.
Most importantly, focus on family, friends, laughter, and good cheer. Food Is secondary. You can enjoy the holidays without regrets if you plan, choose, savor, and move. If you do overindulge, do an after-holiday Detox and Elimination diet to reset, reboot and rejuvenate.
- CDC. 5 Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published November 20, 2019. Accessed November 27, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/holidays-healthy-eating.html
- Skerrett PJ. 12 tips for holiday eating. Harvard Health. Published December 24, 2012. Accessed November 27, 2022. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/12-tips-for-holiday-eating-201212242506
- Satterfield BC, Killgore WDS. Habitual sleep duration predicts caloric and macronutrient intake during sleep deprivation. Sleep Health. 2020;6(1):88-91. doi:10.1016/j.sleh.2019.08.012
- Yeomans MR. Alcohol, appetite and energy balance: is alcohol intake a risk factor for obesity? Physiol Behav. 2010;100(1):82-89. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.01.012
- Zelman KM, MPH, RD, LD. Slow Down, You Eat Too Fast. WebMD. Accessed November 27, 2022. https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/slow-down-you-eat-too-fast
- Stensel D. Exercise, appetite and appetite-regulating hormones: implications for food intake and weight control. Ann Nutr Metab. 2010;57 Suppl 2:36-42. doi:10.1159/000322702