The holidays are upon us which mean lots of high calorie options such as pecan pie and cheesy potato casserole at family/friend gatherings. So how can you continue to stay on track with your weight loss goals?! The key is to work on maintaining, not trying to lose weight. If you try to count your calories during an occasional gathering, you will drive yourself crazy! Remember holidays are meant to be relaxing, not stressful. Here are a few tips to keep you both on track towards your goals and sane for the holidays:
- Use mindful eating techniques such as eating slower (safely converse inbetween bites) and listening to your internal cues. Enjoy your food!
- Don’t go up for second helpings. It takes 20 minutes for your body to communicate to your brain that you are no longer hungry. You will be less likely to feel miserable after dinner too from overindulging.
- When building your plate, make room for foods that are more nutrient-dense such as turkey, vegetable-based salads, and sweet potatoes.
- Don’t pile up your food. Aim for portions the size of the palm of your hand.
- At Thanksgiving there are traditional dishes you can mentally prepare for ahead of time. For example, a slice of pecan pie has approximately 500 calories while a slice of pumpkin pie has approximately 300.
- Choose white meat turkey (breast) over dark meat turkey (legs, thighs). Doing so will save you about 30 calories and approximately 1g of saturated fat.
- Drinking beer during the football game? Choose a light beer and limit yourself to one or two.
- Volunteer to bring a dish for the feast. This is your chance to bring something healthy such as a vegetable or fruit platter as an appetizer before the meal or a salad during the meal.
- Grab some active family members and do an after meal walk. There are also many 5k races Thanksgiving morning where you can walk or run. If you don’t have to help with the meal, play some basketball or football outside before dinner.
- Eat a balanced breakfast that morning. I know many of friends and even my own family members who say “I’m not going to eat breakfast so I’ll be hungry and/or able to eat more during dinner”. This can lead to binging on unhealthy foods and sometimes larger portions.
You will probably go over your calorie goal on this day and that’s ok! Just be careful not to go overboard. During your weight loss journey, you should be figuring out how to make lifestyle changes which means knowing how to eat during the holidays and enjoying your food with friends and family without being stressed. Having, what I call, a “battle plan” before your next holiday occasion will allow you to enjoy yourself and the company of others. If you end up eating more calories than you had planned, remember, it’s not the end of the world. A client recently told me, “If you back up into a pole with your car, you don’t keep backing into it. You move forward.” Use tomorrow as a new day to get back on track towards your goals.