It seems the growing trend in food and fitness blogging is trying to maintain your weight and shape through the holidays. I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Hooray for conformism! Every day, I check my usual hotspots for the latest ground breaking and novel health tips. In getting bombarded with advice, good or otherwise, I have had to sort through it all to come up with what I think I should do for the holidays.
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely lose it over the holidays. As soon as you put a plate of mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie in front of me, it’s like I’ve never heard the word “calories”.
|Who can say no?|
But I got to thinking, we always think of holidays as these special days where we are supposed to celebrate and have a good time and not care about what we are eating. But why does celebration always go hand-in-hand with overeating? I was recenctly shocked to find out that the average holiday meal contains 3,000 calories. Holy _______! That is crazy! And gross. Why can’t we celebrate, enjoy our food, and pretend it’s just like every other day?
Well, that is what I plan on doing. So, here is my action plan for staying accountable and not going absolutely nuts when the green bean casserole and sweet potato pie roll into town.
1) Work out in the morning. Before the family starts arriving is the best time to sweat. For me, having my family around is fun, but exhausting, and the last thing I want to do after they leave is hit the road. Also, working out in the morning jumpstarts your metabolism and gets you ready for the day ahead. Yay energy!
2) Don’t drink a lot of alcoholic beverages. Along with holidays comes seasonal beverages, such as eggnog, and year-round favorites like wine. If I’m going to have a glass of wine, that’s all I am going to have. None of this multiple drink stuff. Drinking alcohol makes you eat more, and not care so much about what you are eating. So enjoy a glass, not five.
Here is a recipe for Banana Eggnog (guilt-free!)
3) Don’t fast before the event day. I have been seeing this everywhere, “Fast before the big day!” What?!? This is possibly the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard. They say that you should fast the day before and drink lots of water and green tea. Maybe I am weird, but if I don’t eat, I will consume twice as much as I normally would in the next meal (to make up for lost time of course). Fasting before the day is like eating-right suicide. You know those champion eaters? They fast the day before their big events… enough said.
4) Don't munch as you cook. Obviously, a good cook always tastes the food before they serve it. But on holidays, the tempatation is there to eat, not just taste, the food you've made. So if you are going to do this, eat WAY less at dinner. Or, (here's a novel idea) exercise your self-control and wait to eat with everyone else.
5) Only have one plate of food. I am notorious for going back for seconds… and thirds. I also do this thing where I will go back and get seconds of one thing, eat it, and go back for another thing, so it makes me feel like I really didn’t eat as much (I know, I am psychologically abnormal). But this year, I am going to make it a point to eat only one plate of food. Think about it. If there are 6 dishes to choose from (there will probably be more than that) and you eat 3 bites of every dish, that’s 18 bites. A full meal. Getting a giant scoop of mash or a whole turkey leg is unnecessary.
6) Eat slowly. Everyone says this, but its so true. I have been testing the theory for the past couple of days, and I now swear by it. Eating slowly definitely makes me feel fuller faster.
7) Drink lots of water before and during the meal. Duh. If your stomach is full of water, you are going to have less room for food. This also goes along with eating slowly. Put down your fork and take a sip of water. It’s amazing how fast you fill up.
8) Have one bite of each dessert. GASP! Yes, one bite. It’s safe to say that I love every dessert known to man. I’m not picky… So naturally, I want to have one of everything. But having 4 desserts is not very advantageous if I plan on fitting into any of my clothes after the fact. If I get a bite of each dessert, that’s like having one whole dessert, which is all I need.
9) Don’t go to sleep right after eating. After Thanksgiving dinner, the conversation about Tryptophan ALWAYS comes up. Yes, we know, it makes you sleepy. Thank you Uncle Bob for enlightening us with your words of wisdom…every year. Sleeping decreases your digestion. You are basically saying, “Hey body, I’m going to take a nap now. Why don’t you just tuck that cranberry sauce right in my thigh area. Anywhere is fine.”
Ok, so maybe my ideas are not revolutionary, but they just might work. I am not about to sacrifice months of eating right and exercising for a few days of deliciousness. I can still enjoy without going overboard. And that’s what I plan on doing.