Between curling up by a fireplace, enjoying quality time with friends and family, and sipping scrumptious hot toddies, Christmas truly is a wonderful time… except when it comes to our waistlines. Bring on the Christmas cookies, eggnog, chocolate-filled advent calendars (my fave), and dinner parties with enough food to feed a small village.
The holiday season can unfortunately seriously derail us from our diets, erasing our successes in the realm of fitness and nutrition. And while I certainly don’t want you to go through the holiday season feeling deprived of your favourite once-a-year treats, here are some simple tips you can follow to ensure that you don’t have to work off 10 extra pounds come the new year.
Have Yourself a Happy Healthy Christmas
Give yourself ONE cheat meal.
Holiday parties are usually planned far in advance, which is super helpful for the health-conscious! After all, when you see “eating like a pig today” written in your calendar, it allows you to plan the rest of your week accordingly. If you’re eating a well-balanced diet for the rest of the week, one meal is not going to kill you. I repeat: ONE MEAL is not going to kill you. But if your entire Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are “cheat days,” you’re undoubtedly going to pack on the pounds. Make a pact with yourself to stick to a well-balanced, healthy diet for six of the seven days of the week. That means eating whole, real foods with minimal ingredients and enjoying sufficient amounts of high quality proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
2. Bring a healthy dish to those holiday potlucks.
If your dinner party is potluck style, make an extra large portion of one of your favourite healthy dishes and revolve the rest of your meal around that. When you’ve made something yourself, you know exactly what’s in it and can be 100% certain that it’s healthy. Enjoy some vegetable sides and any other healthier items from the potluck and you’ll be good to go! Need some ideas for recipes? Check out the recipes page her on my blog!
3. Eat before you go.
Seeing a humungous smorgasbord of food + being ravenously hungry = a horrible, horrible combination. Have a healthy snack before heading to the party like Greek yogurt with some raspberries and a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds. The combination of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates will help hold you over so you’re not devouring everything in sight. A high-fibre snack like veggies dipped in hummus will also do the trick.
4. Chug some water.
If you have some food in your system — especially food that’s high in fibre — drinking some water will help take up more physical space in your stomach, resulting in a temporary feeling of fullness. And since thirst is sometimes confused with hunger, you might feel far more satisfied than you’d expect after sipping on some good ol’ H2O. BONUS: This will also help regulate your blood alcohol levels.
5. Pass on that third helping of eggnog.
It’s not just about what you eat that can derail diet; the calories from that glass of wine, mug of eggnog, or cup of hot apple cider can add up as well. One cup of eggnog has more than 200 calories! I’m not demanding that you avoid eggnog entirely — especially since it only comes around once a year — but maybe skip the second helping and beyond.
6. Know your weak spots.
Holiday parties are usually abundant in those foods that we often deprive ourselves of: chocolate, alcohol, cheese, etc. Figure out which one of these cravings you’re most likely to give into and prepare accordingly throughout the week. For example: I know that when I see a cheese plate I simply cannot resist. So, throughout the week I might have a cube of high-quality cheese each day to satisfy that craving ahead of time. That way I won’t feel like I’m reunited with cheese after decades of being separated when I arrive at the party.
7. Sweat the small stuff.
Before you even get to the main meal, temptation seems to be everywhere. The five different h’ors d’oeuvres, the bread on the table, the olives set out… Those bite-sized snacks can really pack a punch if you’re not careful. Use the entrée as your main source of calories and ignore the other stuff if you can.
8. Up your exercise routine.
Though it’s a busy time, try your best to squeeze in those extra workouts throughout the week. And while it might be tempting to spend hours upon hours on the treadmill, try doing some weight training instead. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you’re doing absolutely nothing.
The Bottom Line
Let’s be honest, part of the Christmas season really is about enjoying some of your favourite homemade, traditional treats. That being said, there is a way to healthily indulge without packing on tons of weight that you’ll just stress about losing later. Use these tips to ensure that you’re enjoying the delicious food around you without the guilt!
You Tell Me!
What’s your best tip to prevent the holiday weight gain? Let me know in the comments below!