It's the most wonderful time of the year, in every way but one. The overabundance of junk food! This time of year is magical aside from the plates of treats left on your porch, in the break room, at the ugly Christmas sweater party and in your pantry. So why do we overeat during the holidays? For starters, many people around us are doing it. Second, food is easily accessible. Third, it's how we socialize. And last, we think it helps us when we're stressed and stress is inevitable during the holidays.
Instead, apply these 5 tips in order to have yourself a healthier holiday:
1. Drink enough water
Researchshows that "Drinking a large, cool glass of water after you wake up fires up your metabolism by 24% for 90 minutes. It also shows that people who drink a glass of water before every meal lost 4.5 pounds over a three-month period, because "it fills up the stomach with a substance that has zero calories," and people "feel full as a result." Drinking water has numerous health benefits and will give you energy and hydration. Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemons has many benefits as well.
2. Slow down
By eating slower and chewing your food longer you will more fully enjoy what you're eating which will allow you to eat less since you will be satisfied with the healthy food you're eating. A growing number of studies confirm that just by eating slower, you'll consume fewer calories. We are busy enough in the holidays, so we don't always get to enjoy what we're doing. Instead, let's learn to enjoy healthy food!
3. Allow yourself an occasional treat
Ditch the "Cheat Day" method. If you dedicate an entire day to eat unhealthy and as much as you want, you reset what your body has worked on all week. Allow your body to fully adapt to a healthier lifestyle. Two treats a week will not derail you, but an entire cheat day can. You also tend to feel guilty after a cheat day and will likely give up easier. Research shows (and experts agree) that "sprinkling reasonably sized desserts or treats into your daily diet encourages you to find pleasure in meal time again."
4. Be patient with yourself
Don't get discouraged if eating less, eating healthier and changing your diet is difficult. Dr. Maltz teaches, "It takes 21 days to form a new habit." Remind yourself food will always be there. Even after the holidays. You are not missing out on anything by not overeating at the dessert table. In fact, you are gaining self-control, energy, better metabolism and the list goes on and on.
5. Remove and replace the temptation
Don't be the one to buy the junk food. If it's not in your house, the chances of you eating it are much less. Instead fill your fridge with whole food options. Enjoy holiday sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, and natural apple cider and remember a small piece of pumpkin pie is still OK. When you can't control what food is provided look for the healthiest option. Learn to socialize without food. Engage in an annual scarf exchange, read a good book or find new healthy recipes to share with friends.
You don't need to overeat or indulge in junk food to enjoy this wonderful time of year. Make a goal to end this year off right and kick start next year's resolutions with a healthier lifestyle.