The holiday season can wreak havoc on your diet. From signature apple pies to decadent cookies and creamy mashed potatoes, the environment is fraught with traps that seem set up just to derail your resolve and have you elbow deep in a pile of irresistible holiday treats. But before you give up altogether, consider trying to adhere to the following smart tips that can help you lower your chance of disaster while maintaining a healthy dose of cheer.
Let Yourself Indulge…Later
This tip might initially seem counterintuitive, but studies show that individuals who completely deprive themselves of their edible desires often buckle and end up eating even more than those who allow themselves to indulge. Interestingly enough, those who allow themselves their food of choice, but not until later, either ended up eating a more moderate amount or none at all. Giving yourself permission to indulge but making yourself wait buys you time to allow the craving to potentially pass. Plus, if you eat something more nutritious first, you’ll take a lot of the power out of that craving and find that it’s not begging quite so loudly anymore.
Stick to Your Exercise Routine
Maintaining your gym routine throughout the holidays can remind you how hard you’ve worked to maintain your goal up until this point. It can also help you curb cravings and improve your mood. As an added benefit, it also allows you to burn off more calories—offering you some much-needed breathing room in your daily calorie count.
Set a Time Limit
The holidays are a time of abundance, and leftovers, snacks, and baked goods are often no more than an arm’s reach away. By setting certain times during the day that are dedicated to eating, you can prevent yourself from the constant grazing that can pack on pounds. By limiting not only the times during the day which are dedicated to eating, but also the number of snacks per day, you can set concrete barriers that can keep your consumption from running wild. Of course, if you find yourself genuinely hungry during an off time, be sure to grab a healthy snack to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level—a handful of raw nuts, an apple, or some Greek yogurt will do the trick.
Limit Your Variety
When we have a wide variety of foods in front of us, we tend to eat more. One deviled egg here, one cookie there, a dollop of mashed potatoes and a few candied yams may not seem like much when you look at each food separately, but combined they can add up fast. By limiting the number of foods you consume, you can prevent your mind from tricking you into thinking you’ve only had a few bites here and there. The holidays are a time for enjoying festivities with loved ones, and that almost always includes delicious food and drink. Have fun and partake in the holiday cheer, but remember these tips to keep your health and fitness routine on track.