I have a confession to make! I am generally a very healthy eater. I’m usually mindful of what I put in my body and how it makes me feel. I enjoy knowing that I’m fueling my body and mind in a way that will enhance my health, energy, and well being. So how exactly did I end up, as I do virtually every year, eating so much on Thanksgiving that I could…literally…barely breathe?! I was contemplating this very question when I came upon the following quite alarming statistic: according to a study conducted by Weight Watchers, the average American gains 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years! Seriously?! C’mon ladies…we can do better than that!! It’s time to stop thinking about getting back on track after the New Year and start thinking about enjoying the festivities in a healthier and more conscious way. Let’s make it our holiday gift to ourselves! Repeat after me:

Get Moving! Try to fit in 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous exercise. Longer sessions are great when you can fit them in, but daily exercise helps to boost your metabolism and reduce stress…which we all know is abundant during the holiday season! Pressed for time? Try fitting in a few minutes of vigorous activity a couple of times throughout the day. Put on some music and let your salsa diva shine; run up and down the stairs; or park as far away from the mall as you possibly can…by choice! Create opportunities to get your heart pumping!

Instead of counting every calorie, make every calorie count! Think of walking into holiday parties with a budget…but your currency is calories, not cash! So enjoy yourself, but “spend” your calories wisely. I like to think of foods in terms of a point system ala Weight Watchers. If I only have 15 points to spend, do I really want that mini (2+ point) eggroll? It may be yummy, but it’s gone so fast I barely have time to register the taste!

Step away from the sweatpants!

We all have our tricks for helping ourselves stay in control during the dizzying days of the holiday season. I personally swear by wearing tight, fitted clothing…not just to parties, but during the entire month of December! Repeat after me…sweatpants are not your friend!! Sexy, fitted clothing reminds me of how much I love feeling good in my body!

Don’t starve yourself before a party!

Cutting back a bit during the day is great, but deprivation sets you up for overindulging! Try small cuts like skipping the walnuts on your oatmeal at breakfast time (but not the oatmeal!). Have a cup of vegetable soup for lunch and a protein/carb snack before party time…an apple with a teaspoon of peanut or almond butter would be ideal…the combination helps keep your appetite in check and your blood sugar stable.

Drink 8 ounces of water before you head to a party.

In fact, many nutritionists recommend drinking a glass of water before every meal, especially if you’re trying to manage your appetite. Pre-hydrating before a party is even more important if you’ll be drinking alcohol, which has a dehydrating effect on your body!

Speaking of alcohol…

I’m pretty sure you knew this was coming! Alcohol might as well be a four letter word!! Not only is alcohol (yes, even red wine!) relatively high in calories, but imbibing also decreases you inhibitions and makes it much harder to make sensible food choices. Try starting the night off with a sparkling water during appetizers when it is so easy to lose track of what and how much you’re munching. Or simply alternate between wine or other alcoholic beverage and sparkling water throughout the night. Champagne is a festive, relatively low calorie choice that also happens to be pretty hard to guzzle! And don’t forget to drink plenty of water before bed if you do drink alcohol!

Sample Sample Sample!

Can’t resist the decadent chocolate cheesecake? Wild for carrot cake with cream cheese frosting? Serve yourself a sliver of each of your favorite desserts and then sit yourself down…and really savor them!

When you’re the chef

Whether you’re entertaining in your home for friends or bringing a dish to share at a potluck, be a really really good friend and make something healthy! Preparing healthy choices like fruits and veggies, grain salads, and lean protein is a great holiday gift you can give to your friends. Check out websites like www.epicurious.com for healthy but amazing holiday fare! And mind the “nibble” while you cook…those little morsels can add up to calorie disaster! Try chewing gum, sipping tea, or drinking flavored sparkling water while you prepare your favorite holiday meal.

Holiday gift baskets, leftovers, and other temptations.

I admit it: my willpower is no match for the giant container of cashews that appears yearly in a holiday gift basket, or the leftovers of my sister’s amazing Jello mold. I’ve learned over the years that there are some foods I just can’t have in my house! Pack up leftover sweets and give them away or throw them in the freezer for drop- in holiday visitors. My rule of thumb? If you can’t resist repeated visits to the freezer, no matter how remote it is, throw those treats away!!

Thanksgiving resolutions anyone?

Why wait until January to make your resolutions?! Treating the holidays like a food free-for-all is like cramming in all of your favorite foods on Sunday because you’re going to start a diet on Monday! With a bit of planning and some moderation, the holidays don’t need to be a diet disaster!

Wishing you the healthiest and most joyful of holidays!! CHEERS!!

You may also like:

In Thanksgiving For Those Changing the World

What You Crave Changes as the Seasons Change

Eating Well and Feeling Good Throughout the Holidays

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan  www.Askinyourface.com LLC

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