The holidays are here, just waiting to put a kink in your routine.
You’re cruising along eating right and exercising daily, then boom — the holidays are here, just waiting to put a kink in your routine! Food is everywhere. Spare time is nowhere. Add in the emotions and stress of the season and you’re sure to have a recipe for weight gain to go with Aunt Bea’s cranberry relish.
Jennifer Kyser, registered dietitian, says it is possible to keep the holidays from ruining your healthy lifestyle. These 12 tips can help you keep the days of Christmas from turning into the pounds of Christmas.
12. Recognize emotional eating. It’s OK to be emotional or think about certain memories during the holidays — just try to avoid bringing back the good times or covering up the bad times with the foods you associate with those feelings. “If you can recognize when you are ‘emotionally eating,’ you are one step ahead,” Kyser said.
11. Use positive self-talk. List all the reasons you want to maintain or lose weight and read it to yourself every morning. It may sound corny, but it works! When you are tempted to eat something you hadn’t planned, read your list and remind yourself why it’s worth it to turn down food.
10. Rehearse. Repeat the reasons for wanting to maintain or lose weight, the same way you would rehearse an important speech or a pep talk you give yourself before a challenging situation. “This will help change your mindset about what eating and food mean to you,” Kyser said.
9. Snack before the party. Avoid going to holiday parties on an empty stomach. Eat a light and healthy snack, such as one with protein that will keep you feeling full, before heading out. This will help you avoid overindulging later.
8. Share the love. When going to holiday gatherings, bring a healthy dish that everyone can enjoy without feeling guilty.
7. Avoid adult beverages. Be careful of your alcohol intake, which adds additional calories and typically leads to overeating.
6. Just say no to food pushers. Food pushers are the people who seem to believe that their holiday celebration isn’t complete until you give in to their food weaknesses. You know them — the co-worker with the bottomless candy jar, mom and her pecan pie, the friend who won’t let you leave without a plate of cookies. “It’s OK to politely say ‘no thank you.’ It won’t hurt your relationship,” Kyser said.
5. Be honest with yourself about working out.You’re busy, you’re stressed, it’s cold outside … there are a lot of excuses to take a break from your fitness routine during the holidays. Acknowledge the fact that the holidays will affect your exercise program, then make adjustments in your schedule to ensure you get a chance to work out.
4. Just do it. Schedule your exercise time. Period. Not only will you feel better about the indulgences that come with the holidays, but exercise also will help relieve holiday stress. “Take something out of your schedule if you need to, but not exercise,” Kyser advises.
3. Be flexible. When your days get busy,fit in whatever activity you can. Take a brisk walk on your lunch hour or create a home workout routine for when you can’t get to the gym. It may not be as strenuous as your typical workout, but at least you are doing something. “Don’t underestimate a simple walk. It is something you can do anywhere, from your neighborhood to the mall,” Kyser said.
2. Mix it up. Trying a new exercise class or an elliptical machine instead of the treadmill can give you the added motivation to work out when you have a lot of excuses to skip the gym.
1. Be ready for the mistletoe! Maintaining your healthy diet and exercise routine will keep your body strong and healthy and boost your confidence so that you will be ready for the mistletoe and all the happy memories that come with the holiday season!
About our expert
Jennifer Kyser is a licensed and registered dietitian with Norton Weight Management Services, 1000 Dupont Road, Louisville, KY 40207; (502) 899-6500