The Holidays: Don’t Just Survive, Thrive!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – to gain weight. Did you know the average American gains one to two pounds during the holiday season? That doesn’t sound so bad, but the real bummer is most people who gain those pounds don't lose them. Just imagine yourself after 20 more holiday seasons weighing an additional 40 pounds. Yikes! Gone are the days where the indulgent foods are around just a day or two during the holiday season; it kicks off in October with Halloween candy and doesn’t stop until January, prompting a resolution.
OK - so I know I need to avoid Aunt Cindy’s famous homemade sugar cookies, but they’re my absolute favorite. How can I resist? Simple: don’t! My advice when faced with many temptations: pick one. Choose your favorite food, the one that ‘it just wouldn’t be Christmas’ without, and savor it. Then be a food snob for the rest of your choices. Calories are precious, so only spend them on things you find truly worth it. Don’t just eat the fruit cake because it’s there; does anyone actually like fruit cake anyway?! Eat slowly and actually taste it – don’t mindlessly wolf it down.
What balance is all about
When allowing yourself one indulgence, be at peace with that decision. Beating yourself up for “cheating” will usually result in some sort of downward spiral that sounds like this: “I already ruined today/this week/this month so I’m just going to eat all of the sugar cookies. I’ll get back on track tomorrow/next week/next month.” You aren’t a failure because you ate one sugar cookie – that’s what balance is all about; however, indulging in whatever you want for three months will definitely set you back.
Do you dread attending holiday gatherings because of the difficult food decisions you’ll face? If possible, limit the number you attend. You don’t need to be a hermit, but hear me out. Instead of a food day at work, suggest celebrating by going on a Christmas light tour or sponsor a family in need. Chances are, you have a co-worker who also dreads food day. Find a like-minded friend, co-worker or family member who will support you in an event that isn’t centered on food.
You can always make healthy swaps for holiday foods, too. The internet is chock full of ideas to help you lighten them up. Check out this collection: https://www.groundedandsurrounded.com/clean-eating-holiday-recipes/
The holidays often keep us busy, and it can be harder to make time to exercise. It’s crucial to schedule it into your calendar just like you would a holiday gathering. Maintaining a three-times-per week routine will help keep your metabolism revved, even if it consists of power walking for 20 minutes at the mall before you dig into the shopping list. Don’t skip out on it, you’ll thank yourself in January.
Have a blessed holiday!
By Alissa Lorchick, RD, Bryan Bariatric Advantage