For most people, the holidays are a time of indulgence, a time when diets are ditched and discipline is thrown to the wind. This holiday season can be different. With a bit of planning and persistence it is possible to stay healthy and fit over the holidays.
Step One: Start Small
Aim to make one change per week, and wait until that change has been fully integrated as a habit before moving on to the next one. For example, try eliminating sodas one week. The next week, work on another change, such as switching to nitrate-free meat products. In this way, lifestyle changes will be set in motion rather than merely adopting holiday habits that disappear with the arrival of the New Year.
Step Two: Have a Plan
Eating healthy during the holidays might be easy at home, but what about holiday parties? Holiday parties are often a time when food and alcohol consumption levels are high, which leads to countless empty calories and blown portion control.
It is vital to have a plan when attending holiday parties. Limit alcohol consumption by sipping a glass of water between each drink. This assists with staying hydrated as well controlling cravings for alcoholic beverages. If water is not enough, try adding lemon or cranberry juice to sparkling water.
Portion control is another key factor to control cravings. Eating before a party lessens the likelihood of mindless snacking. Choose a smaller plate and fill it with fruit and veggies. Don’t linger near the snack table; instead, keep a plate or drink in hand to reduce the temptation to graze.
Step Three: Stress Management
The holidays can be a stressful time especially if adequate sleep and fitness are missing from the equation. Getting plenty of restful sleep at night is essential to a stress management plan that supports fitness goals.
Proper sleep actually aids in eating healthy. Fatigue makes it harder to control cravings and makes people more inclined to reach for high carbohydrate foods that are laden with sugar in order to get a quick burst of energy.
Instead of high carb foods, focus on eating protein, staying hydrated and taking vitamins and minerals. Eating protein helps stabilize the blood sugar and control cravings. Staying hydrated helps the body to distinguish between hunger and thirst. Taking vitamins and minerals ensures that the body receives proper nutrition to stay on track with fitness goals during the busy holiday season.