Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to stay on track during the holidays

Excluding the month of September, the other three months ending in "ber" all seem to pose health challenges for me. It starts cooling down outside making me crave stews, chicken and dumplings, and all other cooler weather comfort foods; my closet starts rearranging from shorts and tanks to pants and sweaters, making me less aware of the trouble areas that are hidden by my clothes.

 And to top if all off, with Halloween in October it seems every where I turn there's some kind of candy or chocolate shoved into my face. With all the casseroles, pies, mashed potatoes and gravy, and everything else in between Thanksgiving and Christmas with cookie parties and such- by the time you're into January, no wonder why everyone's New Year's Resolution is losing weight.

But all of this doesn't mean the holidays have to be an unhealthy time of year. In fact, in order to get anywhere with your health goals you have to think long-term goals and try your hardest not to lose track of that, otherwise you'll spend the first few months of the new year trying to just get back to where you started. It's important to keep long-term health goals in mind. Try having a healthy holiday! The first simple and effective step towards that goal is do not use the season as an excuse to splurge.

Just a few simple tools can put you in control and gliding through the holidays with a positive, can-do attitude. Through my subscription to Weight Watchers I received a very helpful email that gave me a brighter outlook on my health options for this holiday season.

Challenge yourself to use these easy tricks:

  1. Always eat a healthy dinner before you go to a holiday party.
  2. Bring healthy foods to potlucks.
  3. At appetizer tables, choose two or three of your favorites and put them on a small plate, or even a napkin. Then, walk away.
  4. When you're done with your food, throw away the napkin or take your plate to the kitchen.
  5. Avoid large plates.
  6. At a buffet, cover most of your plate with veggies and fruits. Then find room for smaller portions of the high-calorie main dishes.
  7. Watch out for times when you feel guilty for overeating. Just because you slipped up at lunch isn't license to overindulge all day. Remember: one meal is one meal. One day is one day.
  8. One the nights you decide to have a drink, limit yourself to one or two. Don't indulge every night, and choose your drinks wisely.
  9. Drink extra water to help flush out the excess sodium you consume during rich meals.
  10. No matter how busy you get, make time for a healthy breakfast. Eating a morning meal will help control cravings later on.
  11. If baked goods are your holiday weakness, consider hosting a cookie party: Ask every guest to bring one batch of his or her favorite cookies, plus the recipe, and share. This way, you and your family get a variety without having to bake loads. You could also challenge your guests to bring low-fat or low-calorie cookies.
  12. Store healthy snacks at the front of your fridge and pantry, and go for them before you treat yourself to the splurge stuff.
  13. On heavy-eating weeks, add some strength training to your routine. Building muscle will help your body continue to burn calories while at rest.
  14. Add health-related gifts to your wish list this year, they could help make for a slimmer, healthier new year.

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