The holidays are upon us now and it’s time to celebrate with family and friends. It has become the ‘norm’ to accept that we will put on weight during the holiday season. We celebrate the holiday season by over-indulging on foods that have no nutrient value and in turn leave us feeling tired and sick and not wanting to workout. However, what if I told you that you could still eat foods that taste great and consume lots of these foods without adding weight to the scale? The key to keeping the weight off is to be prepared and have a plan. Here are five ways to keep your health in check and from breaking the scales during the holidays.
Try to keep water with you at all times. If you plan on drinking alcohol then keep yourself hydrated by drinking a glass of water in between drinks. Your body cannot function well if it’s dehydrated and then the food cravings start to appear. Don’t let your body mistake your dehydration for hunger. Drinking water also allows you to keep your hands busy which can keep your mind off of nibbling on holiday treats.
I’ve been known to enjoy a glass of wine or two now and then but I keep myself from getting dehydrated by drinking a glass of water in between each drink.
Bring Healthy Treats to a Party
Now that I am a whole food vegan with most of my friends and family not, I need to look out for myself and my appetite. As soon as I am invited to a party or a dinner, upon accepting, I offer to bring my own vegan whole food ‘treats’ to share with others. By simply explaining to friends and family what foods I cannot eat, most are accepting and understanding to my dietary needs and look forward to trying what I bring to share with others.
If you don’t have any dietary concerns with the exception of worrying about consuming too many calories from unhealthy snacks, offer to bring a couple of healthy dishes to a holiday party. By doing so, you can avoid unhealthy snacking, keep the calorie count down, and avoid feeling sluggish from food that has no nutrient value.
Schedule Time to Exercise
With so many holiday parties and events to attend during the holiday season, it’s hard to imagine how to still find time to be active. Don’t deprive yourself from having a good time with family and friends. Learn to schedule in some time to take care of your body even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Balance is the key during the holidays. You can break away from your daily fitness routine while on holidays and still stay in shape.
Try doing some interval style training combining both muscle conditioning and cardiovascular training. This type of workout can help you maintain your cardio levels which can be easily lost within a short amount of time.
Take Control of Your Pantry
If you can’t control what you eat, make sure you are the one who controls what to buy at the grocery store. If you don’t have unhealthy food stored in your pantry, fridge or freezer, more than likely you will not venture out into the cold to take a trip to the grocery store to purchase food that you are craving. Instead, keep your fridge and pantry filled with healthy snacks such health dip and crackers, fruit, and even some vegan frozen goodies. Start thinking about what you should eat instead of what you shouldn’t be eating. Change your mindset and you will change your life.
Be a Trend Setter
How you every thought about starting a new tradition? Traditions are memorable moments that we don’t like to give up but you can still have your old traditions while incorporating new ones with friends and family. Instead of sitting on the couch for that movie marathon all day, how about cutting the time in half on the couch and going outside for a family walk? You can try a new trail or take the family skating or skiing. Enter your spouse, family, or friend in a holiday race that offers up some friendly competition.
Instead of a holiday cookie exchange, try going to a healthy cooking course and learn to cook some healthy holiday recipes for your family. Hire a chef to cook a meal for some close friends and family. Re-define what is important to you for the holiday season and let go of past traditions to make way for new ones.
I thought I would blog an extra article this week to help those who really struggle with maintaining their weight throughout the holidays. Finding balance is the key, but if you also fall off the wagon and miss a workout or indulge in too many treats at a holiday party, don’t sweat it. Give yourself permission to have fun but make sure you get focused to getting back on track the next day. We don’t want to miss out on having fun at holiday parties with our family and friends but we also don’t want to pack on the pounds. Break away from your exercise routine can actually be mentally rewarding. It’s a time to try some new workouts or classes that you thought you might never like to do. Explore activities outside like snowshoeing or x-crossing skiing or even skating. Embrace the cold and snow. It’s not going anywhere so you may as well enjoy it and in turn you will feel better for it.
Don’t be afraid to indulge in some unhealthy foods. Plan ahead so if you’re going to a party that is going to have lots of unhealthy foods, put some healthy calories in you the first part of the day. Eat before you go to the party so you are full before you arrive. Remember that healthy foods taste great too so don’t allow that mindset approach deter you from eating clean.
This is our first holiday season as whole food vegans so we always eat before we go to a party as most of the food available we cannot eat. We either bring our own healthy snacks or keep food in our car to eat on the way home if we get hungry. We generally have a cooler bag with us at all times. It’s just become a way of life for us. If it’s a holiday dinner we’re attending , we cook up one of our favourite dishes and re-heat it when we get there to share with others. I’m surprised at how so many people enjoy eating whole and plant based foods once they give it a chance.
Have a happy & healthy holiday season.
Art & Maureen