We all have a love / hate relationship with the holiday season. It’s great to have the time to see friends and family that we may only see on special occasions. To finally find time to relax and unwind. We’re all very busy.
But the mind-set of family gatherings surrounding the great food and the right to somehow indulge and reward ourselves is absurd. It starts a snowball effect into the crucial 10 weeks to follow taking us right into the end of New Year’s celebrations and what I like to call, the sabotaged end to a year’s worth of hard work. Every year over the holidays (from now until after Christmas), most people will pack on an extra 1-5 pounds. For ninety percent of the population, one of those pounds will never be lost, carried on every year adding up at your waistline.
Here are some of my tips on how to survive Thanksgiving and the holiday season.
1. Start off the morning with physical activity. The family is all home, we sleep in, and have a late breakfast. Get the turkey in the oven, and get outside. Go for a hike with family. A traditional walk the family goes on has become a favorite of ours. Weather dependant we are on our favorite trail. You have the power to create new traditions. Create healthy and active ones. A game of football with family, soccer, basketball. Weathers bad? How about a family swim, arcade, bowling. Just do something active.
2. Don’t skip breakfast. I know a lot of clients will admit to me that they didn’t eat all day or ate very little so that they could indulge at dinner. Theoretically, yes. But, by eating breakfast and lunch plus having healthy snacks throughout the day you are less likely to over eat at dinner. I always have a thick protein smoothie before the appetizers and dinner is served. I make it in the morning (add protein before drinking) because as a mom and the cook my day is pretty busy.
3. Water, water, and more water. I always say a minimum of 4 liters, up to 6 liters every day. If you can’t follow this in your daily routine (you really should), it is a must in the holidays. It helps your body to rid of all the water weight you will most likely hold on to from all the sodium filled foods. But more importantly it will help keep you feeling full. A lot of times what we feel as hunger is actually our body needing hydration. If you ever feel thirsty your body is already extremely De-hydrated. I will fill up two of my 2 liter jugs of water in the morning. My goal is to have them finished by the time I start preparing the appetizers.
4. Limit your alcohol. With a whooping 7 calories per gram in just the liquor itself not including mixes it is second only to fats in calories per serving. If you’re going to indulge anyways, stick to 1-2 drinks, drink water in between drinks, and be aware of what your drink is mixed with. But really, don’t drink.
5. Don’t feel like you have to skip anything. Fill half your plate first with vegetables and salad. Another quarter with lean white protein. You can skip the skin and dark meat as it will save you between 50-100 calories and eating a lot of unnecessary fat. The casserole and the potatoes and stuffing fill the rest.
6. Eat slowly and savor your food. Seriously, you are full well before your brain realizes you are. There is a science behind this that I won’t get into but I can tell you that this trick will save you from going for seconds.
7. Help the host. Once you are done, run from that table. Help the host to pack up food, clear the table, load the dishwasher. I’m sure the host will appreciate your help and it will give you time to start digesting your food so you don’t serve yourself a second plate.
8. Instead of feeling bloated and guilty the next morning remember the great moments of seeing your friends and family. Then get up and get active. Plan a gym date with a friend or family member you may not normally have time to work out with during the hectic week. For me, I never get to train with my husband because of our schedules. Holidays give us the chance to train together and it always ends up with him kicking my but in the gym, forcing me to push past my limits. I always have the best workout and probably burn the most calories. Even if it’s just meeting your mom at the lake for a walk, be a little more active the day after than you normally are.
9. The day after I always have a few cups of dandelion tea which is a natural diuretic. I typically don’t eat any salt or processed foods. But when I do I am super bloated. This is mostly water weight from the food-not actually fat because you can’t store fat overnight. I also add lemon in my water for the entire day. Make sure you continue to drink 4-6 liters the next day too.
10. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself because life is all about the moments spent with the ones we love. Be smart about it. Think of the holidays as a time for weight maintenance not weight loss. Don’t be so hard on yourself, no one is losing weight during the holidays. So stop beating yourself. A simple step is to try to maintain your current weight and not to gain.
And don’t ask me how to survive Halloween which is the next sabotage holiday in the list of sabotages to come. I have 2 little kids and the candy is all around me!!
Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I am grateful and thankful for all of your love and support.