Let’s face it; weight maintenance or (heaven forbid!) weight loss during the period from about two weeks before Halloween through New Year’s Day seems impossible! We all gain a little weight during this time of year, something that I semi-affectionately typically refer to as my “winter coat.” It’s a fact of life in the same category as the “it never rains when you’re carrying an umbrella” phenomenon.
However, when you’re a bride-to-be whose wedding just happens to occur smack dab in the middle of the “weight gain season,” you don’t simply accept this as fact. You work your butt off to keep your wedding dress fitting like a glove, and you do it with planning, perseverance, and a lot of saying no! All three of these things have allowed me to come up with a Thanksgiving menu that my waistline and I can live with. So here are seven healthy holiday habits to adopt during this holiday season!
1. Keep up with your regular fitness routine.
Trust me, I completely understand how difficult it is to get motivated when it’s cold outside and the sun has already set by the time you can get to the gym. But it’s basically impossible to maintain your weight during the holidays if you don’t maintain your fitness schedule. Consider this a great time to switch things up! Do you normally run outdoors? Try using a stationery bike or taking a few laps in a (heated) pool. Just make sure you’re getting that cardio in!
2. Enjoy all of the festive goodies in moderation!
That’s right, you can eat that adorable holiday cookie… just don’t eat five of them and then hate yourself for it later. Yes, healthy holiday eating requires so much self control, but you’ll feel so proud when you get home and aren’t bursting at the seams from chowing down on everything red and green in sight!
3. Be the life of the party, not the guy attached to the food table.
The holidays are all about family and friends and being social, so don’t be that guy and snack when you should be mingling! The office Christmas party? Get to know some of the coworkers you don’t normally interact with. Your family’s Thanksgiving get together? Catch up on all the things that you’ve missed since you last saw your family members. It’s so easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit, which is a great way to distract your brain (and stomach!) from thinking you need to sample every one of the desserts.
4. Leftovers are your new best friend!
We’ve all been there. Your stomach is just starting to feel full, but you go grab another plateful anyway. I get it; you don’t get some of these dishes on a regular basis. But the food will taste even better tomorrow when your body actually needs it. Leftovers are God’s gift to us for being so thankful! Just ask Ross from Friends!
5. Lighten up your traditional holiday fare.
For any of you who have seen my “Lightly Done” posts, you know exactly what I mean. Oftentimes, the foods we eat during the holiday season aren’t actually bad for you… until you smother them in butter or sprinkle them with sugar. Try roasting your turkey instead of frying it, or mashing your potatoes with low fat sour cream or Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream. You can even do it with desserts: take my recipe for Greek yogurt cheesecake, add some pumpkin to the mix, and voila! You’ve made a healthier version of a favorite fall dessert!
6. Make healthy eating a family affair.
Sure, you can regulate your own dishes, but what about the things your family adds to the mix? Encourage the other celebrants to use these rules as well, making smart, healthy substitutions that will keep you all fit and well fed! Or get the family involved in your holiday fitness with a Thanksgiving walk between dinner and dessert. Pumpkin pie never tasted so good as when you’ve already burned off its calories!
7. Don’t let weight gain worries put a damper on your holiday season!
This tip might just be the most important. Say you skipped a workout or ate two cookies at a holiday get together; it’s not the end of the world! Everyone makes mistakes, especially during the holiday season. (Seriously, the Hallmark Channel makes a killing off its holiday movies depicting just that!) Don’t let yourself bah humbug your way onto the naughty list by stressing out about it. Be better next time, and your healthy holiday season will be just fine!