Comfort foods tend to find their way into our hearts and bellies this time of year. If you’re anything like me, I can’t walk into a Starbucks these days without being tempted to order a cream cheese pumpkin muffin and wash it down with a salted caramel latte. The holiday season is upon us and it seems at every corner there is temptation in the form of a slice of pie or a plate of homemade peppermint bark. Just the sound of Christmas carols or the smell of cinnamon candles can stir our emotions and cause us to crave the warmth and contentment we get from our Holiday traditions with our friends and family. Unfortunately for our waist, food and drink is the centerpiece of many of our traditions.
Here are some tips from Aspire Total Fitness to help keep the holiday calories off.
1. SHIFT YOUR FOCUS. It’s hard for anyone to lose weight over the holidays, so instead of focusing on weight loss, shift your focus to weight management. Stick with your exercise routine and proper nutrition. Take time for yourself and stay committed!
2. PLAN AHEAD. Many of us travel during the holidays and sometimes we find ourselves in locations where finding a place or time to exercise can be challenging. Take time to research gyms and class schedules or areas for outdoor activity. Bring along your favorite fitness DVD to play in your laptop if you find yourself stuck indoors.
3. BRING A DISH. Your calendar may already be filling with the obligatory holiday parties. To avoid having to choose between 5 different cheese filled casseroles or dips, offer to bring something that you prepare. This is an excellent way to insure one guilt-free dish that you can help yourself to.
4. AVOID HUNGER PAINS. Plan regular healthy meals throughout the day and when you know your willpower will be tested. This will help keep your blood sugar stable. Never arrive at a Holiday gathering with an empty stomach. Eat a healthy fiber rich snack about 20 minutes before you arrive and you will be less tempted to pounce on whatever bacon wrapped goodness awaits at the appetizer table. Healthy snack ideas: Apple slices with a light spread of Almond Butter or a 1/2 cup Fat Free Cottage Cheese.
5. QUALITY AND QUANTITY. The Thanksgiving table is usually filled with healthy foods. The problem tends to be how much and how they’re prepared. A plate with green beans, turkey, and sweet potatoes isn’t all bad, until you dump a cup of gravy over the top. Serve yourself half of what you normally would eat and leave out the butter, cream and gravy. Allow yourself a treat. It is the holidays after all! If it’s a piece of pie or a slice of cheesecake, cut the slice in half. It's all about moderation, not deprivation.
6. DRINK THIS NOT THAT. A tall Starbucks pumpkin spice latte has 300 calories, 11g of fat, and 38g of sugar! If you must have your caffeinated holiday treats, try a cup of tea. Celestial Seasonings offers a wide variety of all natural teas in Holiday flavors, such as, Candy Cane Lane and Sweet Harvest Pumpkin. Now when it comes to cocktails, a hot buttered rum and spiced egg nog are drinks you should clearly avoid. However, you may be surprised at the hidden calories of some of your favorite cocktails. Most of the calories and sugar are in the mixers and juices. For example, light tasting tonic water is nothing more than a glorified soda. A vodka and tonic has around 210 calories and 22g of sugar, but a glass of sparkling prosecco only has 100 calories and 5g of sugar. Skinnygirl has a great list of low calorie cocktails and recipes, but keep in mind, too much alcohol can inhibit our ability to make good food choices. www.skinnygirlcocktails.com -
7. FORGIVE YOURSELF. If you do happen to indulge on one too many pieces of fudge or pomegranate martinis, don’t beat yourself up. Resist the urge to throw in the towel and eat more just because you slipped up once or twice. Give yourself a moment to recover and refocus. Praise the progress you have made and aspire to be happy and healthy throughout the Holidays and into 2014.
By: Lynne Fendall, ATF Blog Contributor