Looking in the mirror today, I’m not too crazy about what I see.
My shirt looks a little tighter, my belly a little bigger, and the ghost of my double chin wants to rear its ugly little head, back from its chubby little hell. These little signs of the holiday season pop up around this time every year for me. If I’m not careful, they’re the beginnings of a backslide into my old ways, and the “former fat boy” becomes former no longer. Yikes.
All is not lost during the holidays, though. I can minimize the effects of this 7-week bacchanal on my waistline, and you can, too. Take these three healthy steps as we slide into 2017:
1) Food: get back to boring.
If the holidays remind me of anything, it’s that food can be really damn tasty. Honestly, my grandmother’s turkey dressing is my favorite food on the planet, and I eat it for at least 3 days straight at every Thanksgiving. Enjoy special meals that come up once a year, like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
Here’s the kicker, though: when those selected meals are over, get back to boring on your daily meals. Food is meant to fuel your body–view it as such on most days of the year. We eat the same 5 meals or so at my house about 90% of the time: lean protein, leafy greens, little bit of carbs and fat (basmati rice and Irish butter, usually). Daily meals aren’t supposed to be exciting; they’re supposed to fuel your body and minimize excess fat. Enjoy that Christmas ham and get back to your regular, healthy meals otherwise.
2) Stay out of the food “Danger Zone.”
Of course, eating calorie-loaded foods just a couple times in the holiday season would be easier if it wasn’t for all the other food traps. You know the ones: office Christmas parties, cookie swaps, family potlucks, and those meals we rush through while we’re out shopping for the best deals on presents. I think of these as food “danger zones” because they can derail our healthy holiday eating without the massive planning that sets event meals (e.g., Thanksgiving dinner) apart from normal life.
Your best option with these dangerous events would be to avoid them. Granted, we can’t always ditch the office party in favor of our healthy eating plans, so some workarounds would be useful. Is the party optional? If so, then stay clear of the food tables and send your regards. If you must be at the event, try to eat your healthy meal ahead of time, polished off by a bottled water. A full stomach makes you far less likely to attack the mac and cheese on your way to the dessert area. Plan ahead and be strong!
3) Drink like a fish.
How are we going to keep our hunger at bay and flush out those heavy meals as fast as possible? Drink water all day long, as often as you can. The extra fluids will aid digestion and helps you feel full sooner. Keeping the edge off those hunger pangs allows you to make healthier choices about food, so you’re more likely to steer clear of the danger zone.
I love the holiday season. I get to see more of my kinky friends and vanilla family than I do during the year, and that food! I’m already looking forward to Nana’s dressing again next year.
During the year-end festivities, feel free to indulge your food urges at those special occasions. Use these three tips to guide your eating choices as we close out 2016 and jump into the 2nd-best part of the year–weight loss season!
I believe in you.