Forward-Thinking Holiday Strategies
Falling temperatures, leaves changing color and heavier clothes being taken out trigger thoughts of the approaching holidays. Holidays mean lots of rich food, desserts, treats, and drinks. This becomes the perfect excuse to indulge and put off all of our good intentions about eating right and being healthy until the New Year. This line of thinking is what always gets us into trouble! Resolutions are made, broken, and made again; repeating this pattern over and over again results in the same frustration.
Fall is actually the perfect time of year to be proactive. As the weather gets cooler, we tend to start hibernating and moving less. To counteract this, schedule your workouts as a priority on your calendar. Party on Saturday? Plan ahead and cut back your food intake before and afterwards. Also, increase your exercise and activity level before and afterward the event. But don’t skip meals; this only makes you hungrier and you tend to give yourself permission to splurge at the next meal. Overindulging and planning to work off the calories at the gym also doesn’t work. Consider some of the foods that might be available during this season and how much you would have to make sure they don’t stick to your waistline:
- 1 serving of spinach artichoke dip: 1 hour and 19 minutes of walking to burn calories
- 6 chicken wings: 2 hours and 51 minutes of walking to burn off the calories
- 1 cup mashed potatoes: 1 hour and 6 minutes of walking to burn off the calories
1 turkey leg: 1 hour 56 minutes of walking to burn off the calories
- 2 spoonfuls of green bean casserole: 55 minutes of walking to burn off the calories
Instead of feeling deprived, reward yourself for staying in control with something non-food related. As we approach the holidays, remember that food isn’t the real reason of celebration. Not only are we celebrating the true meaning of the holiday, but we are celebrating being together with family and friends. Concentrate on socializing and reconnecting as opposed to how much you can put on your plate. It is a holiday and foods are available that we only eat once a year. Decide in advance what you truly want to eat. Is the pie your favorite or grandma’s special side dish? Go ahead and eat some, but take smaller portions of the other foods. Use common sense and don’t keep eating until you feel completely stuffed. Add some activity to the day. Start a new tradition of game playing. Take a walk around the neighborhood. If you are watching football or a holiday special, make sure you move around during the commercials. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed; start now with healthy food decisions and physical activity. Eat better and move more!