10 Tips that Promise to get you Through the Holidays Happier, Healthier and Thinner!
Ahhh, traditions! The “Freshman 15,” the "five pounds gained over the holidays” and the "middle-age spread”: those are the traditions I’m talking about! Actually,
are more what those sound like. Rationalization is one of the best coping mechanisms that we humans have at our disposal. When it comes to dieting, we can rationalize away any inappropriate action we have ever taken on this journey with excuses such as: "he made me do it--he brought the donuts to work,” “I didn't eat
much," "my pants shrunk in the wash," or the classic "I’m too busy! I don't have time to exercise.” You have two choices this holiday season: One, to remain steadfast in your commitment to improve your health and fitness; or two, to give into the temptations that will surely come your way. By choosing number one, you are going to anticipate the temptations
they happen, knowing that they are going to occur and planning ahead so you will come out on top. For all those choosing choice number one, continue reading and together we will get through the holidays happier, healthier and thinner! For those choosing number two: See you in January when you start back on your “diet”! Only you will be five pounds heavier as well as discouraged and upset with yourself for not sticking to your resolves. I’ve “been there and done that” for more years than I care to admit. You, too?--then
do it again this year! Change your choice and join me as we tackle the obstacles that will hinder your forward progress. Let's go! 1)
Don't bake holiday cookies
. I know, I know…I can hear the arguments now! But, you know what? I haven't baked cookies in years and the holidays are still
! My kids aren't living deprived childhoods, our mailman still likes us and teachers actually use the gift certificates we give them. I know that if I bake them, I will eat them. I don't want to eat them, so I don't bake them. It’s a pretty simple concept. If you must, and I mean
bake cookies, then bake them, wrap them and give them away that very day. 2)
Don't plan your celebrations around food
. Yes, we will all cook the turkey, bake the ham, candy the yams, make the stuffing. This year try changing your focus away from having the perfect meal, making your goal creating lasting family memories instead. I recommend having the younger children “interview” the older members of the family. The youngsters will learn stories that will live as family legends for generations to come. I think my children are still laughing about the stories my dad shared a few years ago. Stories like these are meant to be shared and last much longer than a slice of pie. 3)
Prepare your meal "light”.
Instead of making a loaded-down, breaded, lumpy stuffing, try stuffing the turkey with fruit and onions. It will make for a wonderful flavored turkey! Also, try serving a hearty whole-grain rice dish rather than mashed potatoes, and steamed green beans with a touch of savory spices instead of butter. Whole grain rolls are always delicious, too! For dessert, try making the pumpkin pie with egg whites (and skip the added sugar!) Everything will taste so good that nobody will even know they are eating healthy! 4)
Drink water at all holiday gatherings
. When offered a high calorie, nutrition-lacking cocktail such as champagne or wine, say "no, thank you" and order a glass of club soda with lime. Keep the calories (and hangovers) at bay! 5)
Stand tall. Stand proud.
If you’re fretting over not being able to wear a size smaller “little black dress” or tuxedo, fear not! How you walk into a room, your posture, your confidence and your smile will be remembered by others long after the memory of what you wore fades. Be sure to wear something flattering, get your hair done and maybe even splurge on a manicure and pedicure. It will boost your confidence! But, don’t forget that your attitude and smile matter far more than the shape of your body or the style of your clothes. 6)
Take a little time each day to do something positive for yourself
. I think exercise is the best stress buster during the busy holiday weeks. Getting a minimum of 30 minutes of high intensity, cardiovascular workout at least four times a week will help ensure that you’ll be living a happy New Year! 7)
When going to a party, call the host and offer to bring a healthy dish
. The host will thank you for your generosity without knowing your ulterior motive: ensuring that you’ll have at least one healthy item to eat! 8)
If you are the room mom, snack mom, etc., for your child's class, get creative! You don’t have to make treats that are unhealthy or fattening. Try this fun and healthy alternative to cookies and candy: For each child, take an apple, toothpicks and construction paper. Use the construction paper to cut out antlers and glue them to the toothpicks. Then, stick them into the apple. Additionally, use brown to make the reindeer’s head and black to make feet, and voilà! You have a healthy reindeer treat! Another neat idea is to arrange a “kid-a-thon”: Get the kids to walk/run laps around the school track to raise money for a local shelter or charity. When you put your mind to it, the options are endless! 9)
Don't add stress to your life
. The holiday season is
about buying the perfect gifts, finding the "it" toy or having a perfectly decorated home (even Martha Stewart has bad days!) Don’t overload yourself with things that really aren't important. Simplify! For example, now that my children are getting older, I try very hard to instill in them that "things" are not what life is made of. This year, rather than numerous small gifts under the tree, we are going to put our money towards a family vacation. Sure, I will get them something to open and play with, but not like when they were younger and I still felt the need to buy lots of “stuff.” To me, “stuff” is what gets played with for a few days and then forgotten about in the toy box. Yes, we will still go to the toy store and buy dolls, games and other things to play with, but this year those gifts will get wrapped up and delivered to children who
have toy boxes full of excess stuff. Life is what you make of it, so why not make it great for others? 10)
Stay on track
. Make no excuses and accept no excuses. Keep this phrase in mind: “everywhere you go, there you are!” You don’t need to go on vacation with your body. After all, your body can’t distinguish a holiday from any other day. Your system was not made to eat anything other than proteins, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and water. Yule logs, butter cookies, eggnog, matza balls and strudel are
-made treats that our body doesn’t need to function properly. Indulging in any of these in excess is accepting excuses, rationalizing and putting off until the proverbial “tomorrow.” Remember that what needs to be done needs to be done
! A great start is signing up with
a weight loss program that focuses on making small lifestyle changes that anyone can realistically follow during the holidays. I wish you a happy and healthy holiday!