Holiday Eating Strategies

If you are human, and you celebrate any of the winter holidays, then you will probably be tempted to partake in the consumption of some empty calories in the coming days and weeks. I've written several blogs on this topic before and I'm guessing, if you read those, you just ignored all my good advice. I mean, who wants to prepare a healthy meal to eat BEFORE heading out to a party?

So here's some advice you might actually like: GO FOR IT!

Yes, that's right. I'm giving you my permission to enjoy the holidays. Not just the pretty lights in the windows and the smell of pine wreaths, but also the Christmas cookies and the Hanukkah latkes. After all, these special treats come around only once per year. So don't deny yourself. A kale smoothie isn't nearly as festive as a buche de noel. (French Christmas cake in the shape of a log. Usually decorated with adorable meringue mushrooms.) See recipe here:

Meringue Mushrooms Recipe

Most of us will put on a few pounds over the next 2-3 weeks. This is not a terrible disaster, as long as we don't go crazy overboard. We can always rein in the excess calories come January. But if we plan ahead, we can also balance the extra holiday calories in a few ways.

1) If you know you have a fancy dinner with family one evening, cut back on any extras at breakfast and lunch. This does NOT mean starve yourself all day and go hog wild at dinner! But skip the bread, muffins, desserts, treats, sodas, etc. and stick with protein and veggies. Make sure to get enough fat with your meals so you feel satisfied. At dinner, take small helpings of whatever looks good. Feel free to taste everything, but finish only the dishes you particularly enjoy. A bite or two of dessert can often be enough. One glass of wine can get you through an entire meal if you sip slowly.

2) If you have a long event to attend, like an open house, a wedding, or cocktail party, make sure to arrive well hydrated. Drink a liter of water on the way to the event. Also leave a liter in your car for the drive home. Take advantage of the hors d'oevres which contain the most protein, such as shrimp or crab dip, smoked salmon, sausages, pate, crab cakes, etc. This will slow down the absorption of alcohol into your system. Then refill your glass with water after each alcoholic drink. Although you will make several visits to the restroom, hopefully you will end up drinking about half as much alcohol (including half as many calories) as usual. You will thank me in the morning when you have half the usual hangover!

3) Squeeze in some exercise whenever you can. Instead of choosing to watch a movie, go for a long walk. Find a park you have never visited and go exploring. Invite your family or guests to do something active. Try kayaking or ice skating or paddleboarding. Most hotels have exercise rooms, so even when you're on the road, you can still get a workout in. You can create your own bootcamp in your hotel room or wherever you are. Squats, lunges, burpees, and sprints require zero equipment. If the weather doesn't cooperate, take a brisk walk around the nearest mall.

4) Keep in mind that the holidays are a special time for enjoying the company of those you love. If having fun usually equals heavy drinking or binge eating, this might be the year to try something different. Create new festive traditions that have nothing to do with consuming calories.

Once you've survived the holidays, recommit yourself to your exercise regimen and your diet. If you need help, contact me for one-on-one weight loss coaching or personal training. I'm here for you!