I totally agree with the title of Andy William’s song, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” However, as much happiness and merriment the season can bring, I know it also brings a lot of anxiety and angst for those who are conscious about their diet because of weight loss or just they’re extremely health-conscious (which Serena’s and my friends claim that we two are…Serena and I disagree). However, regardless of where you land on this “food-conscious” spectrum, here are few of my personal tips that I follow during the holiday season or whenever I know I’ll be eating a lot more than usual.
- Be a (polite) picky eater | This doesn’t mean that you can shove vegetables off your plate and use it to justify to yourself when you eat everything and anything. So during the holiday season, when you want to control your waistline and not have to routinely put “Lose weight” on your New Year Resolutions list, be picky. If you’re not too fond of the food after the first tasting, stop eating it and leave it on your plate politely. There’s no need to make a show about it and gag about how much you don’t like the food. Just move it to the side of your plate.
- Create a goal | We’re all human, so don’t be unrealistic and promise yourself that you’re not going to eat any treats or “bad” food during the whole holiday season. Let’s face it. That’s not going to happen, and you’re going to hit yourself down hard when you slip and inevitably indulge yourself to a treat (which is not a bad thing). Create a goal that is reasonable yet slightly challenging at the same time. You could set a goal such as only one treat per day or maybe 5 treats per week (with hopes that all five won’t be devoured in the course of one day).
- No distractions | This is something I always follow, 24/7 for 365 days a year. I think it’s important that you’re fully concentrated on your meal while you’re eating it. This means phones turned off and preferably not on the dinner table, T.V. turned off, no book or anything readable within reach, but just you, your food, and the people you’re eating together with. It’s crazy at how many people I see during the day with one hand grabbing a fork and the other holding a smartphone. When you eat distracted, you only know that you’re done with your meal when you have nothing to scrape up from the plate. Instead, when you’re fully concentrated on your food, many a times you find that before you lick-clean your plate, you already feel satisfied because first, restaurant portions are oversized and also our eyes are bigger than our stomachs.
- Eat something light before going to a party | This seems counterintuitive – that you would end up eating more calories. However, if you go to a party hungry, you’re more likely to reach for the fatty, calorie-dense food. Also, it’s easier to justify when you’re reaching for your 5th cookie that you were hungry before the party and you’re just trying to get satisfied. I suggest eating something light like a piece of fruit.
- No skipping meals | This goes hand-in-hand with number 4. When you skip meals, you’ll just end up overeating later and make it easier to justify yourself when you’re reaching for something unhealthy.
- Check it out | Be savvy and peruse around the choices. If a particular pie catches your eye, make a mental note to save a bit of room for the pie. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be faced with the dilemma of whether to eat the pie despite feeling extremely full or lose the chance of eating the delicious pie.
…But have fun!!! While the above tips were all about making sure you don’t fall back on “unhealthy” holiday eating bandwagon, at the same time, remember that it’s the holiday season! It’ll be such a pity for you to spend all your time calculating calories or keeping track of how many cookies you ate this week when you could be spending time with your loved ones. Remember, it’s all about balance. If you’ve kept up a pretty healthy lifestyle so far, a couple weeks of not-so-stellar eating habits isn’t going to run you down. So if you find yourself slip-up against your goals, forgive yourself and move on.
I hope everybody has a great holiday season receiving lots of love and joy and eating great food – no matter how healthy or unhealthy there are. Don’t let food take advantage of you and replace your holiday spirit with worry and misery.
Which tip is going to be the easiest for you to follow? Which tip is going to be the hardest? Do you have any of your own tips to share?