Weight gain has become synonymous with the Christmas season. We drink too much, we eat too much, sugar consumption is at an all time high, and for many of us in the Northeast region, our levels of Vitamin D are decreased with daylight savings time. In turn, we ring in the new year exhausted plagued by the flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and other diet related illnesses. Despite these afflictions, our thoughts remain fixated on working off excess holiday weight for the new year, which equals, you guessed it, more stress.
The way to end this cycle of oral madness is to think ahead. We need to decide how to handle the holiday season before it begins. The magic that helps you to avoid gaining additional weight is a fairy named restraint. Restraint appears when you decide that you are the most important person in your life. Yes you. You are the captain of your ship. Only you set the course for your life and your daily intake. Just you.
Restraint means making a choice and sticking by it. Understand your level of power here. The only way to avoid gaining weight this holiday season is to decide not to gain the weight. Your mind is a very powerful ally in your success.
- Run your own race. It doesn't matter what your friends are eating. It doesn't matter what your significant other is eating. Prepare foods that are healthy for you. Nourishing whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables are easy on the digestive system and essential for maintaining overall health. You can never go wrong by having a whole foods mindset. Engage it.
- Take your focus off comfort foods - Ask yourself what the Christmas season really about. For many this is a time of giving and rejoicing, for others a season of sorrow. All of these emotions can spark binge eating of comfort fords. Remind yourself that holiday comfort foods like cookies and eggnog for example, are usually never low in calories and when you're finished eating them you never feel good about yourself. A better option is decide that binging is not how you want to spend your holiday.
- The holidays aren't about deprivation, they're about giving. What better gift can you give yourself that forethought and preparation? You can still celebrate the holidays while enjoying yourself, getting the sleep you need and regulating your dietary intake. Start each day with a plan of how you're going to eat to gain energy, not deplete it.
- Make soups and salads your friends during the holiday season. Homemade soups are a fortifying, warming, nourishing, filling and healthy comfort food food. Soups, especially vegetable based soups, are easily digested--plus a big pot of soup goes a long way. Make vegetable soups and salads part of your holiday meals this season. Soups are easily digested, giving you the nourishment and energy you need to sustain your holiday party schedule and giving your digestive tract a much needed break.
- Plan indulgence. Let's fact it, it's the holidays -- there will be indulgence. Be ready for it. Decide that you're going to have two indulgent days during the holiday season versus daily indulgent days. Plan those days. If your favorite meal is Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, plan to eat on those days while curtailing your intake during the rest of the holiday season. You can do it.