On Top Tips for Holiday Eating
Christmas is fast approaching and it’s our favorite holiday for a lot of reasons. All the delicious food is definitely one of those reasons! In this blog post I will share our strategies and tips for maintaining a commitment to an active, healthy lifestyle while still enjoying food around Christmas or any other holiday.
Last Christmas with my cat Floof - can you tell she is my favorite?
1. Food as Celebration
Growing up in Nova Scotia, a big part of the culture there is celebrating with food. It’s perfectly normal for food to be a part of celebrations, but the trouble I always ran into was making those celebrations a daily event.
Changing my relationship with food and choosing to celebrate in other ways was an important step for me. I of course still celebrate special occasions with food, but I also celebrate in other ways, like going to the movies with Erin, or buying myself a new shirt, or a trip to Jasper National Park to spend time in the mountains. If you have recently chosen to live a more healthy, active lifestyle, there is a good chance you have realized some cost savings. So treat yourself!
Over the holiday season, continue to celebrate with delicious foods, but look for new ways to celebrate as well, it might end up being more enjoyable and rewarding than a slice of pie or turkey.
"It’s perfectly normal for food to be a part of celebrations"
2. Plan Ahead
As Erin summed up so well in her post On Calories, and I talked about in my post On Our Number One Tip for Calorie Counting Success, the amazing thing about the calories in - calories out method for reaching a healthy weight is that no food is off limits, there are just appropriate portion sizes.
"No food is off limits, there are just appropriate portion sizes"
If you know later in the day you are going to a holiday party and you are likely to eat some gingerbread, some shortbread cookies or drink some wine, just plan your day around it. Eat lighter throughout the day and bank your calories for the evening, or go for a hard workout at lunch to burn some calories that way. Making sure that you don’t deny yourself the foods you love and finding a way to fit them into a healthy, active lifestyle is a great way to help keep it up long term.
"If you know later in the day you are going to a holiday party.....just plan your day around it."
Planning ahead by logging your calories using an app like myfitnesspal is so amazing for this, because it will give you an accurate count of just how many calories you have left for the day. That way you know how much shortbread you can eat while still moving towards a healthy weight!
Spinach and Apple
One of my go to snacks if I am planning for a high calorie evening - only 100 calories and very filling!
3. Food Prep
Preparing large amounts of food ahead of time and dividing that food into meal sized portions makes it so much easier to plan ahead and budget calories. I love the convenience of just grabbing something from the freezer or fridge on my way out the door to work and knowing exactly how many calories it is. This may seem like a daunting task, but making a large meal while listening to some music or watching your favorite TV show is a great way to unwind.
Here are some pictures from a recent meal prep session of mine.
4. "No Thank You"
Around the holidays many people show affection through preparing and sharing food with loved ones. There is actually some pretty interesting science behind this. This can sometimes make it awkward to say ‘no thank you’ when being offered a second helping of dessert or a third glass of wine.
Remember that you have decided to live a more healthy active lifestyle so you can lead a more full, happy life. It’s okay to say ‘no thank you’ to that second helping of dessert!
Another option, if you are comfortable with portion control, is to take some leftovers home with you and enjoy them the next day.
5. Make Time for Self Care, Including Exercise
The holidays can be a busy time for a lot of people, but it’s always important to make time for yourself. I know when I am overtired or worn out, or I haven’t gotten my exercise in, I am not much fun to be around. If I neglect self care, it makes it so much harder to be my best self around others. That is why it is so important to make time for self care, including exercise!
Making this a part of your routine and even scheduling it in if necessary is important, holidays come and go but a commitment to a more healthy and active lifestyle has the potential to pay lifelong dividends!
6. One Sunny Day Does Not Make a Summer
This is one of my favorite sayings and it’s so true. I didn’t get to 250 pounds because I went over my calorie budget one day or skipped one day at the gym. Similarly, I didn’t lose half my body weight because of one day where I counted all my calories or thanks to one really hard work out.
Part of living a more healthy, active lifestyle, is making sure it will stick for the long term, that means not being overly restrictive and allowing yourself to go over your calorie budget every once in awhile. Just make sure to start fresh again the next day!