Since that first “fun size” candy bar on Halloween, many of us have put aside our healthy eating and exercise habits until the New Year. Is there a way to eat, drink, be merry, and still fit in your skinny jeans on January 1st? Yes! Commit to these 10 commandments and you’re sure to coast through the holidays without gaining weight.
Thou Shall Make Exercise Non-Negotiable. Let’s face it. When we allow ourselves an out, we usually take it. Even if you’re not exercising at the highest pace, rate or intensity you normally do, commit to sticking with your exercise program…no matter what. Schedule it into your planner, workout in the morning or find an accountability partner. Just do whatever you’ll need to ensure it gets done. Exercising during the craziness of the holidays gives you a sense of control during these times when you may feel life is out of control. It’s also a great way to blow off extra steam while helping you stay calm and focused.
Thou Shall Wear Fitted Clothes—Only. If your clothes expand … so will you. Wearing fitted clothes gives you a subconscious reminder to keep your eating in check because you’ll simply start feeling really uncomfortable when they get too tight. When they do, many of us often cut back on our eating or drinking for a day or two until we start feeling better. How did I stumble upon this commitment? Back in college it seemed I was one of the few women who didn’t gain the dreaded “Freshman 15.” Why? I realised I was also one of the few women who wore jeans every day and not sweats, and it’s a strategy I’ve been using ever since.
Thou Shall Never Go Anywhere Hungry. When you’re hungry, your judgment flies out the window and the best of intentions often go astray. Instead of putting yourself in a reactive position where you’re at the mercy of whatever is available, take the proactive approach by putting the power back into your hands. That means having a light snack or mini meal with quality protein, some fruit or veggies and some healthy fat before you leave for your next holiday party. What are some choices? A low sugar Greek yoghurt with almonds, a few slices of rolled up turkey with some veggies, an apple with peanut/almond/nut butter or a healthy shake made with a quality shake mix, unsweetened vanilla almond/hemp/coconut milk and ice.
Thou Shall Hydrate. Often the holidays mean more partying, less sleep and more stress. This also may mean more caffeine and more alcohol. While caffeine and alcohol both cause us to get dehydrated, so does fatigue from a lack of sleep. How can you replenish yourself? My favourite is Vita Coco coconut water which is all natural, only 45-60 calories per serving and has key electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and calcium. Of course, clean, pure water is always good too!
Thou Shall Preplan. Just as you’d plan ahead when taking a trip, that same thought and attention needs to go towards what you’re drinking and eating during the holidays too. You know every few hours you’re likely to get hungry so what healthy choices can you have available when hunger strikes? Can you stock the fridge with healthy food and snacks, can you be the one to bring the veggie platter to the party so you know it’ll be there? Can you plan how many drinks or hors d'oeuvres you’ll allow yourself at a holiday party so you can simply stick with your plan? Sure it may take some extra work but I promise it’s worth it.
Thou Shall Say No. Just because you’re invited doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Of course it’s great to be with friends and socialise but if you feel it’s taking too much of a toll on you, it’s perfectly ok to say no to some of the holiday invitations…and all the extra holiday food and drinks that will be there. Use your judgment to choose the events you’d rather skip and the ones you’d regret not attending.
Thou Shall Be a Food Snob. This is all about shunning the foods you can have at any time in order to make room for a taste of foods and drinks which signify the holidays are here. For example, skip the bread basket for a taste of a great holiday dessert.
Thou Shall Eat Everything While Seated: Over the last 21 years I’ve been helping people get lean, fit, healthy and happy, this one rule has led many of my clients to shed many pounds for good. Just the rule of no eating while standing can potentially knock hundreds if not thousands of mindless munching calories from your daily consumption. Give it a try and see for yourself.
Thou Shall Eat Real Food Only. When you’re eating foods that nourish, fuel and satisfy you, you’re less likely to stuff yourself with foods that simply stuff you (like processed and high sugar choices). Choose lots of fresh vegetables, low sugar fruits, quality protein sources and healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados and olive oil.
Thou Shall Catch the Slip Before the Fall. It’s normal to slip when you see all of those delicious choices in front of you. The key is to prevent the slip from turning into a fall and then a complete tumble. If you ate or drank more than you planned, contain it to the meal or the event and put some closure on it. Don’t be too hard on yourself and whatever you do, refuse to adopt the “may as well” attitude where just because you over did it during one meal, all is lost until January 1st. Chalk it up to a little too much celebrating and move on.
Stick with these commandments starting now and you’re sure to enjoy a lean, fit, healthy and happy 2013. Enjoy!