Oh my goodness, this time of year has potential to throw my health routine into a total tailspin.
With dinners and celebrations prevalent, and some days stacked with lunches as well, it’s a dieter’s disaster.
However, you don’t have to become a holiday statistic! Through some simple tips and tricks to navigate the pitfalls of the season, you will avoid the weight gain, bloat and lethargy that many wake up with January 1.
First, forgive yourself. Even the most dedicated person is not perfect 100% of the time. If you typically enlist the 80/20 rule (following your health protocol 80% of the time, with some imperfections 20%), consider allowing yourself a shift to 70/30 without criticism.
In that vein, be wary of the self-saboteur taking over and saying nasty things to you. Going off at the company party does not make you a bad person. Don’t let the little voice in your head tell you otherwise! (MOJO Makers™ #11: Quiet Your Saboteur.)
If you do go off, then do not use it as an excuse to continue to do so. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “After all, tomorrow is another day.” And another chance to make healthful choices. Wake up and go straight for the lemon water, nutritious breakfast and brisk walk.
People often ask me what more important, working out or eating well. The answer of course is both. However, throughout the day you have numerous opportunities to consider what you put into your body. Three meals, plus snacks, plus beverages. That is a lot of chances to do something excellent for yourself. If you make better choices 70-80% of the time, you are in grand shape!
When eating out, follow my go-to tips and tricks:
- Make a plan in advance. Go online to review the menu and select options that work for your nutrition routine. Knowing what to order when you arrive (BEFORE you're hungry) makes all the difference. You’ll look forward to ordering instead of stressing about making a decision while everyone is waiting, and feel good about it too.
- Start with water (instead of immediately ordering an alcoholic beverage or soft drink). I find water with no ice easier to drink, especially this time of year. If drinking alcohol, order it with the meal or better yet, for when the food is served. That will save you from imbibing on an empty stomach, additional calories, plus keep more dough in your pocket for those holiday expenses.
- Don't be afraid to ask for food the way you want it. I do that all the time (much to my husband's chagrin)! No added salt, steamed, broiled, no roll, dressing/sauce on the side, etc. Added together, those tweaks can make an enormous difference, and you will better control what you eat.
- Note: Most restaurants cook with a lot of salt, so by asking for no added salt just means they don't put even more on at the end. If it lacks flavor, you can just add salt or pepper yourself at the table.
- If you do receive an item that is too salty, either send it back or ask for lemon and squeeze some on to dissolve the salt.
Overall, a good rule of thumb is to go for items with simpler and fewer ingredients.
When at a party or buffet, do yourself a favor and use a small plate (or glass). The size of the plate typically dictates the amount of food you’ll fill it with. Small plate, small portion, small change, big difference!
Don’t feel compelled to try everything. Start with the items you enjoy the most so you feel fulfilled, and surround them with fiber-filled, nutrition dense foods so you are satiated. When the plate empty, put it down for at least 5 minutes before heading back for seconds. You may find yourself full enough to skip them altogether. Then you can even have dessert guilt free!
On that note, there is no need to fear the dessert table. Just be picky! If you like both the apple pie and the dark chocolate brownie, have a half portion of each. Or go for nuts, fruit or cheese. Of course if you’ve already spent the day snacking on sugary items, do skip it, but I do not recommend totally depriving yourself. Doing so typically results in the downing of a pint of ice cream or box of cookies at home later, something you definitely want to avoid.
Importantly, remember why you’re there in the first place: to connect with colleagues or friends and family you love. Make socializing the priority instead of overindulging. You likely have the opportunity to catch up with people you haven’t seen in awhile. Avoid the awkwardness of talking with your mouth full or becoming distracted by the next course. Put down the fork, and open your mouth and ears to the person in front of you.
You’ll avoid becoming a holiday statistic, and create lasting memories.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™