Ah, America. The land of overindulgence and festive holidays every month. How can we possibly be expected to stay lean and healthy when Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's all fall within three months?! I'm here to reassure you that it can be done. With a little self-control and a positive mindset, you can make it through the holiday season without gaining those extra 20 pounds.
1. Drink water!
Water is one of the most underrated nutrients even though it's quite possibly, the most important one out there. Drinking plenty of waterhelps you stay hydrated, energized, increases your metabolism (aka, your caloric burn) and helps fill your stomach with something other than your grandmother's famous peanut butter cookies.
2. Keep working out.
Exercise has a lengthy list of benefits – you can check some of them out here. Making sure that you keep up with your workout routine helps ensure that you don't fall into a pit of fattening food and despair (not to mention it'll help you burn up some extra calories and strengthen your self-confidence).
3. Don't overdo it.
This happens more often than we'd like to admit. For some reason, Americans love to take everything to the max. Unfortunately, this also includes eating copious amounts of food until we feel sick. It has to stop, people. Eat until your full, not until your stuffed.
4. Leave the soda alone.
When you're planning on consuming roast turkey covered in gravy with buttery bread and pumpkin pie, every calorie counts. Among the multitude of reasons that explain why soda is badfor your health, the core reason is that it eats up a ridiculous amount of calories which would be much more satisfying coming from nutrient-dense food.
5. Don't skip meals!
You may think this makes perfect sense: overeat on one meal so you shouldn't eat the next. Now, if you are physically sick from the amount of food you ate a few hours before, don't feel obliged to eat a sandwich. That would be gross. But, skipping mealscan slow down your metabolism, which can lead to weight gain. Not to mention, you need healthy, wholesome food to keep you energized throughout your busy holiday schedule.
6. Have the dessert.
Restricting yourself to the point where all you can think about is that slice of cake or yummy cookie can often lead to overindulgence and binging which will only make you feel worse. Take my advice and have the dessert, but just have one.
7. Adopt healthy holiday cooking habits.
Just because it's a holiday doesn't mean you have to whip out the Crisco. Sub out chips with veggies and dip for a snack. Limit the oil you put in dishes and find healthy alternatives to some of the worst offenders (Pinterest is your best friend).
8. Eat your fruits and veggies.
This should be a rule all year long, but it's especially important during the winter months. If you make an effort to eat your fruits and vegetables, you won't feel the need to snack on leftovers or overeat at dinner.
9. Listen to your body.
If you wake up the next morning after an indulgence the night before with an upset stomach, that's your body's way of telling you to chill out with the pizza and french fries. Everyone's body is different, just because your best friend can eat three cheeseburgers and workout an hour later does not mean that you can.
10. Say no.
I get it. It can be hard to have self-control when relatives and friends are what I like to call "food-pushers." It is completely OK to politely say, "No, thank you." The world will not end. You do not haveto eat a third slice of pie just because your aunt made it especially for you.
11. Get some sleep.
According to WebMD, sleep loss makes you feel hungrier than you really are and increases fat storage. Yikes.
12. Let go of your guilt.
It's a special time of year. You've gathered with friends and family to have a good time. Don't let your guilt about eating something that might not be the healthiest choice get you down. Make a conscious decision to accept the fact that it's only food. It does not make you any less of a person to enjoy a home-cooked meal with more calories than what you would normally eat in two days. Enjoy the food and the people you're eating with, and move on.