“It’s all fun and games until your pants don’t fit.”
I have a confession. I’ve never been great at avoiding holiday indulgences. I love a little extra treat during the workday, eating foods I don’t normally at family gatherings, and trying new apps at parties. While I know the rule that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet, sticking to workouts helps keep things in balance for this short period of time.
Speaking of balance and because I know I don’t have the discipline to stick to a clean eating plan, I instead focus my energy on at least keeping eating controlled. I’ve found three good tips for keeping things in check during the holiday season.
Don’t worry, these tips are not the typical:
“Drink a lot of water,” (duh, you should always drink a lot of water), or
“Limit indulging to one day per week,” (sure, if there was one day each week all the parties and all the snacks were limited to), or even
“Just take one bite and savor it,” (I’m not cutting off one bite of pumpkin pie and leaving a half-eaten piece in the pan. I’m not an asshole and that just sounds sad).
Eat – Yes, Eat
Remember Full House – not the new, hip one on Netflix – the original 90s, slightly awful yet fantastic series? DJ’s boyfriend, Steve, ate all the time, even before they went out to eat. He was a high school guy, an athlete, and surely had a high metabolism. Understood. However, he may have been way ahead of his time with smart eating moves.
It’s not a bad idea to eat before you head out to a gathering or other event. Not a full meal just something with protein or fiber so you’re not starving by the time you arrive. I don’t know about you, but when I’m really hungry, food that normally would not be appealing to me suddenly seems like something I need to mow down in handfuls.
But, Lindsay, I’m always on-the-go this time of year. I go from work to errands to parties. Don’t worry, I have a solution – keep a healthy snack nearby. I always have a snack in my purse; usually a Quest bar, sometimes an apple. Not only does this help prevent overeating, it keeps from being hangry. Tis the season of being merry and jolly, not hangry.
On a related note, this this time of year might be a good time to skip breakfast and lunch, and “save up” those calories for later, right? WRONG.
Skipping meals leads to lack of energy, for sure overeating, and did I mention hangry? No one wants to be or be around hangry.
Love, Not Like
This is one of my favorite rules. Basically, give yourself the okay to eat something unhealthy that you LOVE but pass on the unhealthy foods you only LIKE.
I personally LOVE puppy chow and make it every year during the Christmas season. It’s full of sugar and so high in calories but I can’t help but love it. And I just associate it with Christmas; it’s something we always made and had for the holidays.
Do I like peanut butter kiss cookies? Oh yeah. And fudge, and fruity punch, and peanut brittle? Sure. But I don’t love them. So I’ll usually pass on them.
Skip the Drama
I’ve noticed people treat Thanksgiving like it’s the only day, all year, they overeat, so it’s okay to go 100% full-bore, full food coma mode.
Ditch drama – unless it’s the fun, party, photo booth kind.
C’mon, Thanksgiving isn’t the only day we overeat. Think birthday dinners, Fourth of July BBQs, Halloween parties, random Saturday nights – there’s always going to be a time we overeat. Remembering that makes it less likely to overindulge on the “it’s only once a year” rationale.
If I’m being honest, Thanksgiving wasn’t the only day I overate this year. In fact, it wasn’t the only day I overate that week, so, yeah…
So can we all just agree to get over the holiday eating guilt? You’re going to overeat and have treats. It’s okay. Rather than feel guilty and have the whole, “Well, I might as well give up,” conversation in your head, acknowledge it, get over it, and get back on track next meal.
More than anything, I think enjoying the holidays while still fitting into clothes really just boils down to mindful eating and balanced eating. It sounds simple but it’s not that simple. So, as it is the season of big family meals, treats in the workplace, boozy weekday parties, and excess in general, hopefully these tips help keep things in check.
What’s your best tip for getting through the holiday food fest without having to miss out? Comment or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311.
Lindsay Paulson is a blogger, runner, self proclaimed "Lifter of Heavy Things", and a wellness advocate. Can you tell she likes food? By day, she is a PR professional. Learn more about her on her site https://runlikeagirl311.wordpress.com or follow her Twitter account that she mentioned above!