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HEALTHY HOLIDAY BLISS

Don’t throw in the towel during the holidays! You’ve worked way too hard this year.

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It’s no huge surprise that when the holidays roll around, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, people throw in the towel when it comes to eating healthy. Then magically, January 2nd arrives and everyone’s ready to get back on track and start their healthy routine again. Somewhere in our brains, a huge “eating permission slip” conveniently blocks out the fact that 60% of Americans gain up to 6 pounds in the 1.5 months of festivities. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, 2003, those within normal weight ranges gain up to one pound and those that are overweight or obese will gain significantly more. Much of this weight stays on despite New Year’s resolutions.

Rather than playing this mind and body game, why not go into the holidays with the proper mindset and a game plan to enjoy the holiday bliss in a healthy manner. Listed below are tried and true tips for maintaining or at the very least, minimizing weight gain during the holidays. Remember the simple mantra: “Moderation, Moderation, Moderation” and you’ll enjoy the last month of the year!

OF MOST IMPORTANCE IS YOUR MIND. Make a mental, verbal and written contract with yourself, prior to the holidays. Say it out loud, write it down, post it on the fridge, tell a friend or any other method that keeps you true to your personal promise. For example, “The holidays are right around the corner. I will allow myself small tastings of my favorite foods but I will not overindulge just because it’s expected or acceptable. I will focus

myself small tastings of my favorites but I will not overindulge just because it’s expected or acceptable. I will focus on friends and family in lieu of food. I know that my mind is exceptionally strong and that I can be stick to my commitment.

EAT NORMALLY ON THE DAY OF THE PARTY. Meal skipping is a guaranteed set-up for tremendous hunger coupled with lack of control. Eating lightly on the day of your party is fine – just don’t let yourself get too hungry. For example, if you know you’re going to eat mashed potatoes, stuffing, or dessert, feel free to skip most of your bread/starch servings that day. But do eat protein, vegetables, and fruit. Drinking water or eating a small meal before the party is also a great trick for preventing excessive eating.

IF YOU FEEL COMPELLED TO HAVE APPETIZERS, go for the fruit, vegetables (sans the high fat dip) and harder cheeses (sans the crackers). These low- fat choices won’t destroy your predetermined eating strategy. They will actually nourish you and lessen your food cravings at the main meal and dessert.

REMEMBER THAT ALCOHOL INCREASES APPETITE AND DECREASES SELF-CONTROL, a perfect recipe for out-of-control over-indulgence. Alcohol is nothing but “empty calories” providing zero nourishment. Once again, it is important to pre-set in your mind how many alcoholic beverages you will have at the party and to stick to it. Water or mineral water with a splash of lemon is a great alternative or “in-betweeners”. Another option is a wine spritzer: 2oz of white wine plus 2oz of mineral water – half the calories, half the alcohol and a great way to stretch out your evening’s allotment.

MAINTAIN AS MUCH CONSISTENCY IN YOUR WORKOUT PROGRAM AS POSSIBLE. By doing so, you may not lose weight during the holidays, but it may be the key to keep from gaining it. Even if you have to drop one or two of your weekly workouts, don’t get discouraged and blow off your entire exercise program until after the holidays. That’s surely a recipe for weight gain and poor health.

IMMEDIATELY RESUME YOUR HEALTHY EATING ROUTINE AFTER THE PARTY. Be careful to not continue the nibble theme. Shockingly, it takes only 3 days of bad habits to trigger long-term cravings – especially if you are only eating the culprits and not balancing your nourishment throughout the day.

In closing, enjoy your holidays and try not to over think it. Once you make the mental note, trust it and the rest will fall in place. Cheers and best of luck!