Monday, October 19, 2009

Healthy Holiday Tips

Party invitations coming in? Celebrations, drinks, dinners, fun? Oh no, you gasp. How are you going to fit into your outfits and enjoy yourself?

This is a challenging time for everyone, even those with nutrition education. Knowing what to eat and the importance of being active does not help unless you decide beforehand; you want to enjoy the holiday festivities AND keep your shape.
The easiest way is to find out what has gone wrong in the past. If you can identify your main weak point, write it down. This will be THE habit to keep under control. Wouldn’t it make you proud to survive and feel successful for this year?

Be aware of the 3 biggest health mistakes people make through the holiday season:

1. Losing control with food and alcohol at one event and giving up on your healthy goals.
2. Stop finding time for activities.
3. Start wearing “big” clothes.

The 3 easiest ways to prevent holiday weight gain

1. Realize that one overeating and drinking episode does not destroy your health goals for the rest of your life.
- Know what events are happening. Eat a light snack before the event begins. Take the edge off your appetite to avoid eating too much later on
- Be aware of what you did and how you felt afterwards.
- Mentally plan ahead for the next event.
- Eat low fat and small portions when you have more control on what food is available. Resist overloading on calories earlier in the day.
- Eat something before you drink alcohol. Choose one or two of your favorite alcoholic drinks for the event. The recommended alcohol intake for men is two servings a day and for women one serving a day. No, these amounts are not accumulative. Drink water or pop when thirsty, then slowly enjoy your drink like the French do. They nurse a drink for two hours.
- At restaurants:
• Eat bread plain; butter can make the stalest bread taste good
• Take two minutes longer to look at the menu
• Choose a nutritious dish, which is just as delicious as fatty, creamy choices
• Order half portions or share with a friend
• Take leftovers home with you
• Leave the restaurant feeling comfortable enough to walk for half an hour
- At parties:
• Fill up with low calorie foods first; then add a few traditional treats
• Stay away from the food tables
• Pace yourself
• Talk more, eat less
• No second helpings

2. Work out every day to feel inspired and energetic. This could mean walking, going to the gym, exercising at home with an exercise video or playing a game of squash. Reserve time in your busy day for activity, even if it means walking half an hour to and from an event rather than taking a cab. If it helps, book with a personal trainer to keep committed.

3. Look good every day. Sort out your wardrobe and only have clothes in your closet that make you feel fantastic. If clothes start becoming “snug,” hold back for two days until clothes fit again. Invest in a smart party outfit for New Year’s Eve, try it on regularly and make sure it fits every week before the big night.

If you lose control at one meal, don’t give up. Ignore the failing feeling and carry on with your goals immediately afterwards.

Happy Holidays!