The holiday season is one of the best times of the year. with snow falling (for those northerners) and Christmas music seemingly blasting from every known source of sound, the spirit is with us all.
This time can be a great time to spend with family, enjoy cool new gadgets, and be merry.
But we all know how difficult the season can be as well, especially when we are trying to eat healthy. My wife and I are going to Mexico in January and we want to look good for each other.
The biggest problem?
January comes after December, and the Christmas season is FULL of cookies, cakes, brownies, punch, huge meals, and delicious homemade bread! And of course, as well know, this does NOT last just one day or one night. We ALL have multiple times per day when we are tempted to reach for a sweet or overindulge during a pot luck.
I don’t know about you, but I love big family meals around a big table. There is something pleasing and uplifting about enjoying good food with good company. But this just isn’t usually a good thing for healthy eating. Unless you have a family full of vegans and health nuts, those big family home cooked meals are not going to be that good for you.
Here are 7 tips for avoiding an expanded waste line this holiday season. Nothing here is overly difficult to put in practice. Take these few simple steps seriously and I can guarantee you will have a more enjoyable holiday season.
Tip #1: Make a Plan
There is no faster path to failure than not having any sort of plan. This is especially true when trying to take it easy by not over indulging on a lot of unhealthy foods. If you make a plan, even if you don’t stick to it 100% at least you have something to revert back to.
It can be really easy to continue indulging in bad foods when you have the “well its Christmas” attitude. This attitude is actually okay and even encouraged up to a point, but when you look back at your day and realize you had 3 brownies, a soda, and more chips than you can remember, you know why your stomach doesn’t feel that great.
A good plan limits the bad foods you want to eat in order to be able to savor them. You want to make a plan that you will be comfortable with and that supports your current goals. It might be best to avoid any bad food completely, but this won’t be necessary for most. For me, I love a good piece of chocolate pie, and if one became available on Christmas day I would most assuredly indulge.
Plan to have a good day, but also plan to limit yourself so as to stick to your weight loss and healthy eating goals.
Tip #2: Drink Water
This one is a no-brainer, but there are so many people that don’t drink enough water. Drink it when you wake up, drink a glass before every meal, and drink a glass whenever you think of it. Water is the #1 tool to use for weight loss, and it only makes sense to stay focused on it during the holiday season.
This is the one tip you just can’t forget.
You don’t like the taste?
Get over it. Getting healthy means drinking more water, period.
Tip #3: Carry Around an Apple
Please don’t take this one too literally, but if it takes actually carrying around an apple to help you to lose weight and make better decisions, embrace it and don’t feel ashamed.
Keep something healthy like an apple or mixed nuts with you when your family takes a day trip to the movies or to go ice skating. It is a much better snack than most refreshment stands offer.
This is very similar to tactic #8 in my book The Action Diet in which I talk about the importance of having something healthy for every meal. You always want to get something good in your system no matter what else you are eating. Carrying around healthy snacks allows you to do this at all times.
Tip #4: Make Fitness a Family Event
Some of you might do this already, but my family always goes out and plays football together every year at Christmas time. “Family Football” is a great time to get out there and earn those calories.
It doesn’t matter what kind of physical activity is it, but doing something active is always a good idea, especially in the holiday season. This means you can:
- Go for a walk
- Play an active “board game” like charades
- Throw the frisbee or football
- Wrestle with your brothers
- Have a jog in place competition
- Take a hike with your family
Basically anything active is a good idea here and will help to keep the holiday bulge away 😉
Tip #5: Make Dinner at Home
For Christmas this year each member of my family is going to make dinner for a night during the week we are all together. This is a cool experience because we will get to try something new, yet it will definitely be healthier than going out to eat or getting takeout for every meal.
Eating out is almost always worse than eating at home. It is much easier to cook good and wholesome food when you KNOW what is going into it.
Tip #6: Sing a Christmas Carol
Singing and listening to music are good for the soul. You have to admit that it is quite difficult to belt out a rendition of White Christmas without letting a smile cross your face.
Singing during Christmas time is a great way to feel good and to spread the holiday cheer.
As Buddy the elf says “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear.”
Tip #7: Enjoy Yourself
For me, I find true happiness is most often found around family. I look forward to this time every single year. This is where I can be completely stress free and enjoy myself.
This means that I don’t fret if I want to eat a piece of pie or a brownie. The most important thing is to have a good time. While I want to have a plan and make sure I am not completely destroying my diet, it is worth it to me to indulge a little bit.
This carries over to beyond the holiday times because if you want to stick with something you need to at least partially enjoy it. My wife and I love hiking, and therefore we hike as often as we can. It is great for our health and great for our minds.
Enjoy yourself this Christmas, but make steps to enjoy your life as you go forward from this holiday season.
I wish you the very best!
-Jordan, Your Fiber Guardian