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Sunday
Oct302016

7 Healthy Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Season Now

It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year.  These next eight weeks often bring out the best in people through exchanges of gratitude, gift giving and upbeat and positive attitudes. But for anyone on a their own weight loss and transformation journey, it can also be the cause of deviation from our plans and create setbacks. If you’re the average American, this time of year has been estimated to bring on an additional 8-10 pounds due to all the extras that this time of year brings.

But if I’ve learned anything with my clients, it’s that a little planning can have a huge impact on whether or not this season will hurt their waistlines.  Below are seven ways to plan for it now to take you into the new year as a healthier individual.

Pick Your Cheats

Get a planner/calendar and write this all down. Because there are so many extra events throughout this time of year, it’s important to write them all down so you can see (from a bird’s eye view) everything going on and all the opportunities that can make or break your healthy routine. Determine which events will be harder for you to avoid the extra treats (or adult beverages) and decide if/when you’re going to allow yourself some indulgence. It shouldn’t be every event, especially during the weeks you have multiple of them. But if you pick your cheats now and plan for them, you’ll feel more confident during the season, without feeling deprived. 

Practice Your Polite “No’s”

Everyone has a relative or family friend that can be overly pushy. I always think of my dad who loves to tell me he’s allergic to gluten-free at my Thanksgiving party every year. If you have people in your life that don’t fully support your lifestyle or tend to offer a less-than-healthy option over and over, practice saying no now, so you know how to respond when that opportunity arises. 

Determine When You’ll Bring Food

One of the best strategies to help get through the holiday months is planning to bring your own food. This could be a dish to share with the group (think meat and cheese tray, fresh fruit, vegetable platter, shrimp cocktail) or your portable snack or beverage (think protein shake) to have on hand so you have at least one option to eat and stick to your plan.

Find Non-Food Ways to Embrace

Sometimes it feels like any and all celebrations are food dominant. Although there are some amazingly tasty treats around this time of year, think of other ways to celebrate the season and different ways to give gifts. Try incorporating some non-food celebrations with your family – such as carving pumpkins, decorating wreaths or doing other holiday crafts. Instead of food-based gifts, try gifting handmade soaps or lotions for your friends or coworkers.

Enhance your Exercise Routine

I always tell my clients this: now is the time to really stick to your exercise routine and add a little variety. When we stick to our workout sessions, we’re more likely to stick to our nutrition strategies, which is hard to do during this season. If your workouts have been feeling mundane, talk to a trainer about adding in a little variety to your routine or venture into different types of workouts that you usually don’t do. The goal is to stick to a plan and stay consistent each week, knowing that you’re bound to have a little extra indulgence coming in during this time. 

Have a Craving Strategy

If you’re going to a party or an event and know you’re going to run into some foods that are hard to resist, having a craving strategy can make all the difference. For most, using a glutamine supplement or protein powder prior to that event can help keep cravings at bay and keep your blood sugars stable so your energy doesn’t drop (causing a craving). At the event, focus on the foods that help keep them at bay, including healthy fats, lean proteins and fiber (starchy vegetables).

Expect it At Work

Everyone brings the food they don’t want to consume at home to work. Candy bowls, flavored popcorn, you name it. We bring it to work to share because we know it’s not healthy, (whether gifted to us or something we bought ourselves) so we bring it in to share with everyone else.  Expect extra treats and candies in the break room and commit to not consuming any of it. It’s easy to overeat and not think those little treats count, but they can absolutely add and impact your waistline.

Bonus Tip: Pick your Cookie Now

If you’re like me and invited to a handful of cookie parties, taking the time now to pick a “healthier” one to share can make a difference. My go-to is a no bake sun-butter drop. These little beauties are both filling and tasty and all my friends and family love them, without having a huge and negative impact on their blood sugar. You can always engage in the fun that comes from baking and hanging out with friends. But then, donate the cookies to someone else as well.

 

If you need a little more accountability than above, consider signing up for our Holiday 60 Day Challenge.  We created this offering specifically for you, knowing this time of year is tough to get through and sometimes extra support is exactly what you need.  The Challenge kicks off Nov 5th but you can still sign up today.

 

In health, Anika Christ – Senior Program Manager – Life Time Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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