6 Strategies to Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season

By Esther Sears, FNP, AOCNP

We all know the temptations that come with holiday meals.  Who even wants to turn down the many tempting foods?  Maybe you have already blown it with Thanksgiving or indulged in your kids’ Halloween candy.  Then the self-defeating talk begins.  “I just won’t worry about it, I will get back to my healthy lifestyle plan after the holidays”.  And you let loose.  Everything is open game now.  Before you know it, the sugar addiction and feeling of being out of control returns, and so do the pounds!  That is why so many people make New Year’s resolutions!  I would like to challenge you to make a resolution now instead.  All is not lost.  You can survive the holidays with your appetite in check.  Here are 6 strategies to help you accomplish this.

6 Strategies to Help You Stay on Track Through the Holidays

  1. Change your mindset. All is not lost just because you had a meal or two that did not perfectly align with your lifestyle! Commit to getting back on track now. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you will “just go with it” and worry about it after the holidays.  This thinking is self-defeating and sets the stage for complete catastrophe.
  2. When at meals with family or friends, start with veggies. If there is a veggie tray, snack away before the meal.  This will help you feel full so you eat less of the other foods.  If you don’t expect to see a veggie tray, bring one!
  3. Plan ahead. Think about what your plate will look like in advance, and how much of certain foods will be on it. Commit to filling it only once.  Plan on 2/3 to 3/4 of your plate to be veggies and 1/4 to 1/3 protein.
  4. If you want dessert, plan for it in advance. Do you need a whole piece or would half suffice?  Do you need the ice cream or whipping cream on top or can you go without?  Make your choices before you go and commit to stick with them.
  5. Whatever you do decide to eat this holiday season, commit to thoroughly enjoying it. Focus on your food, enjoying the tastes and textures and take time to chew well and eat slowly.  This simple step will result in eating less!
  6. Plan your day after meals in advance and commit to staying on your lifestyle plan.

Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up.  We all struggle through the holiday season, myself included.  But we don’t have to give in and go crazy.  We can survive with our “jeans” intact!

If you do need help in getting back on track after the holiday season, I would love to help you set goals and address any health related issues you may be having in the new year.  Happy Holidays!