One Thing That Will Make a Difference. What could I possibly say that would make you think twice before having intimate mouth relations with a pan of shortbread cookies? Holiday articles about eating healthy are only slightly more palatable than the dreaded New Year's resolution articles, but I'm going to try anyway.
We've all read the list of things you can do during the holidays to keep your waistline from expanding; eat before you go out, ramp up your exercise, be the designated driver and don't drink, stay away from the cookie table, but let's be real, there are lots of invitations to holiday events and all of them involve some amount of food and no amount of treadmill use.
So, if you are interested in staying out of your stretch pants over the holidays, here's what I tell my clients - pick one thing. That's all. Just pick one idea that feels right to you, and stick to it.
Always eat before you go out. Have a small snack, a full meal - what ever it takes to be less ravenous when you arrive. It's hard to be social when you are keeping a sharp eye out for the Hors D'Ouevres tray, so shore up before you get there.
Follow your exercise routine and add more. Exercise 3 times, 5 times or 7 times a week. If you like exercise, then use this option to make up for your added calorie consumption.
If you know the night is going to be filled with Phyllo pastry and sugar cookies, then make the most of the meals you can control. Cut your carbs between 7am and 5pm everyday, this will make your evening choices feel more like rewards than guilty pleasures.
Choose to avoid the cookie tray, or the cracker table or the sweet drinks, decide which one is the least pleasing to you - and like Elsa says, "Let it go". If you aren't a sweet-eater to begin with, then don't start.
When I was younger, it was all about the exercise. I made sure I worked out every chance I got during the holiday season. Now, with three kids and a more demanding schedule, I use the 'eat something before I go out' option. In my experience, trying to do a bit of everything leads to the post holiday bloated-blues. Starting an evening with the words, "I'm just going to have one drink" often leads to two drinks, and that leads to gobbling up a tray of crackers and brie and washing it down with a stein of EggNog. This in turn leads to feeling terrible the next morning and then skipping my workout. It's a fail in my book because I didn't have a clear plan ahead of time. Now, I use the "one thing" rule for the season. It's makes it simple to stay on track and I feel more in control and less overwhelmed.
Listen, I understand that some nights are going to be full-scale food and drink festivals - but the month is long, so pick your one thing and stick to it.
Your pants will thank you.
Heather Korol is the founder of Heather's Gym. For twenty years, Heather has coached people (in person and online) to both fitness and life goal success. She is a graduated of Northern Arizona University with a degree in Biochemistry, she is a national level athlete, and the author of A Slice of Happy - Because the Whole Pie is Overrated.