- Plan ahead. In the weeks leading up to your holiday dinner, decrease your caloric intake by a few hundred calories a day and hit the gym an extra time or two per week to prepare for those extra indulgences.
- Eat breakfast. On major eating holidays like Thanksgiving, many people fast all day to prepare for the big meal. Not only does this promote binging once you finally sit down to eat after starving yourself all day, but it’s also been proven that eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism. Eating something light in the morning will help you burn more calories throughout the day, and eat less at the dinner table.
- Exercise early. The holiday season tends to get busier and busier as the day goes on, which means it becomes easier to find excuses to skip exercising. Start your day off with a workout, and you’ll be burning calories all day. Plus you won’t have to fight through a tryptophan haze.
- Get the family involved. It’s hard to pull yourself away from family gatherings to get in some exercise time. The best way to avoid missing out on family fun is to make your workout a group activity. Play a game of flag football together, or sign up for a turkey trot. Exercising together will make memories, and keep your workout fun.
- Skip the finger foods. It’s easy to overeat when it comes to those harmless-looking appetizers, so save your appetite for the main event.
- Load up on veggies. Once the main course begins, don’t fill your plate with stuffing and mac ‘n cheese. Begin with vegetables and lean proteins like turkey, green beans, and salad, which will leave less room on your plate for fatty indulgences.
- Eat slowly. Taking small bites and chewing slowly will make you feel fuller faster, while shoveling it in doesn't give your body time to recognize that you're satiated.
- Skip the seconds. Take a break before going back for another plateful of your holiday favorites. If you've taken your time eating, you should be feeling full by the end of your first helping. Let your body recognize that it’s full, and skip the extra fat and calories that come with seconds and thirds.
- Stay on your feet. After a big holiday meal, all you want to do is to flop on the couch to watch football. But staying active after eating helps burn off a few of the calories you just packed in. Help clear the dishes. Go for a family stroll around the block. Play with the kids. Just keep moving for 30 minutes after you eat, and your metabolism will keep burning.
Remember, the holidays are a time for celebrating your family and enjoying the season, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t help going back for a second slice of pumpkin pie.
As long as you keep your goals in mind, and don’t use the holidays as an excuse to let your nutrition plan go completely off the rails, you shouldn't feel bad about indulging in moderation.
The holidays only come once a year, so enjoy the friends, family, and food that come with the season.
-Merry Christmas from the Women's Ministry Leadership Team