Fitness Motivation

Fitness Motivation

How is everybody going along with their summer fitness plan?

Personally, I have to say that fitting in my runs have been quite difficult. I have had debate camp from 9am to 6pm every single day (including Saturday and Sunday) and now I’m starting an MUN camp from 9am to 5pm for a week.

And then these camps require homework and I also have a two hour math tutor lesson thing every Tuesday and Friday, so yeah, my schedule has only allowed me to run at 6:40 in the morning.

motivation2

It’s really hard waking up every morning when my alarm rings at 6:30 and I know that technically, I can sleep in till 8am without being late to my camps. However, I’ve been hammering myself with motivation and encouragement that it’s been much easier to wake up at 6:30 and just do it.

motivation1

So here are some of my tips and tricks:

For those who are training for the fall sports season | I definitely fall in this category. I’m currently training for cross-country, hence a lot of running (I’ve been running around 23 miles/week for three weeks).

Motivation for this category is relatively simple. You have to work hard now, so that you don’t fall behind others when you go to preseason or when you start your season.

I think people can agree with a resounding consensus, that it sucks to feel the “slow” or the “uncoordinated” player of the team. Now in XC, I’m going to be the slowest runner, that’s a fact. The girls on my XC team are the same girls that were with me on the winter track team last year and I know for a fact that I am the slowest. However, my motivation is rooted in the fact that I don’t want to be too slow. Yes, I will be slow, but I don’t want to be incredibly slow. Does that make sense?

So whether you’re the worst, best, or in-between of the team, you want to work hard because eventually it’s going to pay off.

motivation3

For those who are doing it for health or weight loss | Just start slow. No need to get stellar split times and you don’t have to exercise for a certain time or goal. Thus, I recommend just getting your butt of that bed, change into your exercise clothes, and just walk. Yep, that’s it. WALK.

Every summer I visit Korea; I realize again the profound benefit of walking. The majority of people in Korea walk. With the benefits of technology, I was able to track my steps whilst in Korea and my daily average was 12,000 steps. And let me tell you, those 12,000 steps do go somewhere.

And this doesn’t just apply to Korea, but in other countries like Italy. When my friends and I visited Italy during spring break of our eighth grade year, we were perplexed at how Italians could eat such carby and rich stuff, yet remain so slim. But it’s the walking I’m telling ya.

So even a short 20-30 minute walk will provide so much useful to you. You don’t even have to powerwalk (although that’ll be nice). Just start walking.

The point is, for people in this category, it’s not so much the quality of your exercise, but more about the quantity of your exercise. To be healthy or to lose weight, it’s important to exercise often and the exercise well part comes later.

healthy1

In general | Sometimes, to be honest, these advices doesn’t work. But sometimes, the most brutally simple works the best.

As Nike says best, “JUST DO IT.” My personal advice with this is to just repeat this slogan in your head over and over again.

Also, just keep positive and happy. Stop complaining and just do it. It’s for your own benefit. This hard work and toil that you’re doing, 100% of the result goes to you and no one else.

healthy2

On a side note, here’s a couple of interesting tidbits happening so far.

File_000

My mom surprised me when she got this organic kale power while we were in Korea. Ever since coming back from Korea, she’s been making me a goguma smoothie with a tablespoon of this powder. Can’t even taste it!

File_000(2).jpeg

I’ve seriously don’t have enough time that I’ve been eating my salad dinners on the go. (I guess Serena have telepathy – both using chicken salad for meals this week!)

 

What motivation do you use to workout?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Finding Your Workout: My Exercise Journey

Finding Your Workout: My Exercise Journey

I used to hate working out. Eating healthy was enough for me, and I didn’t realize the benefits of exercise until I actually tried it out. I loved gym class at school because of the team sports and the camaraderie, however, when it came the summer, I wouldn’t actually do much to maintain my fitness.

Every summer, I competed in golf tournaments about once a week and I practiced most days for about 2-6 hour. Really the only physical benefit of golf was that it strengthened my legs and kept my heart rate up because of the amount of walking (typically 5 miles) and swinging involved. However, I wasn’t doing much else to strengthen my body. So when my mom joined a gym membership, I decided to come with her to a yoga class. I instantly fell in love with yoga because it was so peaceful yet physically demanding, and the shavasana (lying down) at the end felt amazing. So I continued to attend the yoga classes once a week and carried this out during my school year. But obviously, one hour of yoga a week was not enough.

I started doing Blogilates (pilates) about once a week and doing push ups before going to bed. The next summer, I joined a field hockey camp that met twice a week, and I sprinted my way across the field. When high school started, I involved myself with field hockey. The team met every week day for two hours each. The amount of cardio we had to do was challenging for me. I remember thinking that the  3 mile run around school was a very big deal.

In the winter, I tried out dance, which met three times a week for one and a half hours each. Dance was completely different from field hockey; there wasn’t much cardio involved, but it was more like yoga because of the flexibility involved. During the season, I realized that I it really was not the sport for me. I wasn’t the most graceful or coordinated, so I told myself I would try a different sport the next winter season.

Spring was golf season for me, which was very exciting. I didn’t do much to supplement my exercise other than the mandatory half-hour weight-lifting once a week.

When summer rolled around, I started thinking back to the winter season and decided that I would either joint the swim team or run distance. Ultimately, I decided to run, mainly because of the support that Stephanie (yes, the other half of this blog), who ran cross country, gave me. I started running for 40 minutes, 5 days a week , and I got used to it. Although I dreaded the early morning wake-ups, I felt so accomplished after each run. I knew that I wasn’t the fastest, or even close to fast, but it gave me pride to be pushing myself into a sport that I was hesitant about because of the immense challenge that it presented for me.

So over the course of my journey so far, I’ve learned a couple things:

1.) Try it even if you think you’ll suck at it! Field hockey and running were two sports that I was completely intimidated by because I hated cardio. But when I gave it a try and gave it some time, I ended up enjoying it.

2.) Constantly push yourself. Fear of the greatness of your potential is probably what’s holding you back.

3.) You need a buddy/buddies. If exercise is hard for you, use other people to motivate you, whether that be teammates, friends, or opponents.

What are your experiences with exercise/athletics?

Love,

Serena

My Experience with College Dining Halls

My Experience with College Dining Halls

Since I am at a sleep away summer camp on a college campus, I have been able to experience eating at a college dining hall. Lucky for me, the college that I am staying at (Georgia Tech) has an excellent dining hall with a lot of vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan options.

IMG_2542         IMG_2511

There’s a gluten free fridge with cookies, muffins, and bread. There even is a Silk dispenser with vanilla and chocolate soy milk.

IMG_2526My typical breakfast is made up of oatmeal (with honey and soy milk), some fruit (pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, banana) and a boiled egg. Sometimes I will add in some potatoes. The breakfast at this dining hall is actually very similar to what I eat during the school year. Unfortunately, there’s no almond butter because they only serve nut-free foods, but coming here, I was pleasantly surprised by the many options!

As for lunch and dinner, the dining hall offers a variety of vegetables, but also a fair share of fries and pizza. Below is a couple of meals I’ve eaten.

IMG_2512
On the left plate, I have carrots, orzo-rice, cauliflower, and spaghetti squash with beans. On the right, there are peas, fish (likely flounder), potatoes, and yellow squash. This was the day that I understood the “freshmen 15”! The food was absolutely amazing.
IMG_2531
On the left: raw tofu, broccoli, roasted carrots. Center: corn with beans, and fish (likely flounder). On the right: veggie wrap with spinach cream.
IMG_2537
On the left: corn, wild rice, peas, fried tofu with onions and carrots. On the right: grilled cheese (which had a very fake-tasting, yellow cheese…but what can you expect, its a college cafeteria:))
IMG_2532
Not only does this dining hall offer VEGAN desserts, but they also list calorie counts and nutrition facts! I’m impressed.

IMG_2517

I also have been running regularly in the mornings. Of course, I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t pack a plethora of healthy snacks! After a run, I usually eat some dried fruit and nuts to refuel.

What are your experiences with college dining halls? Share in the comments 🙂

Love,

Serena

Get Fit: Avolicious Summer Fitness Plan

Get Fit: Avolicious Summer Fitness Plan

Seasons for me are not dictated by the actual solar system, but by the academic year, so June 20th for me is nothing but a day. Which means … summer is here!

Serena and I officially got out of school yesterday and have three FULL months before we head into our sophomore year.

Having gained the infamous Freshman 15 (actually more like Freshman 20 for me), I am definitely motivated to lose some weight. However, I’ve learned that it’s much more rewarding and a happier mindset if I focus on health rather than a number on the scale. Therefore, the focus of this fitness plan is for us to see how much stronger our muscles feel, how much energy we get from eating nutrient-dense foods, and the confidence we have for ourselves without having the number on the scale or on the clothes tag dictate it.

summerplan

Unlike my winter break fitness routine, I wanted to get readers involved as well! I will be sharing (or more like I will be stealing from Serena) recipe suggestions, workout routines, and healthy habits that will be easy to incorporate into yours and my lifestyle.

The Rules

  • Despite the name, this should be a lifestyle change. Change your whole attitude about life and make the new habits you’ll be creating reasonable enough that you’ll be able to sustain it even after the summer season.
  • Drink lots and lots of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in water.
  • Pick on exercise to do everyday. As I am a runner and training for XC – I know already… – my workouts may be too much cardio for some readers. As that will be the case, I will soon post about the workouts I will specifically be doing, but also strength and conditioning workouts I know my friends have raved about. And maybe along the way, I’ll discover a love for strength workouts as well (as that is also my goal for the summer, and as a Type-A person, I need my goals accomplished 🙂 )
  • Do all the exercises listed under “Everyday Exercises” each day in addition to your selected workout
  • Practice intuitive eating. Eat when hungry, stop when full. Easier said than done.

 

The Off-Limits List

  • No heavily processed, sugar laden foods (read: white breads, fried foods, candy, soda, sugary drinks)
    • Now I know that baked goods and ice cream will fit under this category. However, Serena and I love ice cream and baked goods too much, I will let this slide. Nevertheless, all of these things should be in moderation!

 

Everyday Exercises

  • 30 crunches each day | If you are already doing an ab-focused workout for the day, you can skip this.
  • 60 second regular plank, 60 second side plank on each side (3×60 second planks in total)
  • Stretch on your bed before you go to sleep

In short, if you remember to make healthy meal choices, sweat at least once a day, and stay focused, you’ll be right on track.

 

I’ll be checking up on you guys to make sure you’re following this plan!

Are you ready?

xoxo,
Stephanie

Hiking: My Go-To Snacks

Hiking: My Go-To Snacks

A couple days ago, my entire grade went on a hiking trip at a state park. It was a fun experience, but I just wish we had more time to hike!

Anyways, I packed a couple snacks based on my prior hiking trips with my family, and here are my favorites and some tips.

  1. Trail Mix: DIY or a healthy store bought one (no M&Ms though 🙂 ) I packed a store bought one that had pecans, cranberries, yogurt balls, peanuts, and I added raw almonds and cashews
  2. Fruit: Apples, peaches, pears, anything that does not have to be peeled (eg. not kiwi or mango). Also, don’t pack bananas unless you will be eating them right away! My banana smushed in my bag and produced a terrible smell. I had to carry it down the mountain and on the bus ride back to school due to no trash cans!
  3. Dried Fruit (Mango, Banana, Apple, etc.) are perfect for snacking. They can be put in the trail mix as well.
  4. Energy Bars: KIND bars, Clif bars, Luna bars, etc.
  5. Sandwich: a boring spinach, tomato, & cheese. Spice it up with mashed avocado!
  6. Crackers if you’re into the savory like me! Just don’t binge-eat them 🙂 )

I hope this will inspire you to experience the great outdoors and not compromise your nutrition! Here are some of my favorite pics from a family hiking trip in Washington & Oregon from last summer.

IMG_1771
Mt. Rainier
IMG_1769
Mt. Rainier
IMG_1697
Multonomah Falls

IMG_1746

What are your go-to food tips for hiking?

Love,

Serena

My Health Journey

My Health Journey

Why do you eat what you eat? What shaped your food choices?

These were questions that I recently asked myself, and I figured that I could bring you on a trip down memory lane with me.

I was raised to eat conveniently, as healthy as fast food could be. About once every two weeks, I remember going to McDonalds with my parents, and they would always order a 6 piece Chicken McNuggets for me, with chocolate milk and apple slices.

On school nights, a typical “Chinese” dinner would include bone broth (made by my dad every Sunday for the rest of the week), white rice, meat (steamed fish or baked chicken) and sautéed veggies. Alternatively, we might have an “Italian” dinner with spaghetti with meat sauce, carrots, and peas. On weekends, my dad would cook an “American” meal, starting with the daily bone broth, and complete with mashed potatoes, ribs, and corn. We would always end meals with dessert–fresh fruit. My parents, both working, raised me on food that they felt was balanced and healthy, and that took half an hour to prepare.

However, I would always crave “healthy” snacks like sweet potato chips, string cheese, purple corn tortilla chips with guacamole, or greek yogurt. After school, I would gorge myself with these snacks, sometimes eating half a bag of veggie chips, or five cheese sticks. It was an unhealthy obsessions that would occur Monday through Friday as my self “reward” for a tiring day at school.

My mom, discovering that the family size chip bags she bought were finished in a couple days, realized that my excessive snacking was unhealthy. She encouraged me to control my portions, but I did little to change this.

Meanwhile, I was always the “healthy girl” among my friends at school, because of my sandwiches and salads for lunch, and my obsession with organics. Looking back, I realize that I was a hypocrite! While I seemed to be a healthy eater, I covered up the fact that I was binge-eating snacks, and my portion control was atrocious. My excuse was that-at least the snacks were “healthy”-they weren’t fried potato chips or brownies.

During the summer between middle school and high school, I became a full-fledged pescetarian, due to the horrors of animal slaughter that I had learned about through documentaries, Youtube videos, and research on PETA.

Admittedly, I did not change my obsessive snack habit until high school, when I would eat all my meals at school, and not have access to the bounty of snacks I had at home. Instead, after school, I would eat one KIND bar, and/or a handful or crackers. Only when the snacks were out of sight did I put them out of my mind.

At the beginning of high school, I also met my now-best friend (and other half of this blog!) Stephanie. She was “the healthy girl”, instead of me, and I could not compete with her. I couldn’t understand how she found salads -without avocados-appealing. Later, her influence rubbed off on me, and I began eating more and more salads. Now, I have noticed that I don’t binge eat on snacks as often, and I am used to eating more raw foods in meals.

What I have learned from my health journey is this:

  1. Out of sight, out of mind–if the unhealthy food is inconvenient to obtain, you will be less likely to consume them
  2. Just because other people are eating it, doesn’t mean that you have to–learn to resist!
  3. Find someone/something to motivate you–support from a friend helps a lot!

Hopefully, my journey is inspirational or relatable to you. Share your thoughts in the comments!

Love,

Serena

Nutrition 101: Fats

Nutrition 101: Fats

I’m going to be honest here. As much as I love to be original and creative, sometimes I do need to be a bit “boring” because I want to make our blog as varied in the health spectrum as possible. This means that sometimes I just want to educate and teach what nutrition is all about.  With that being said, let’s dive right in.

I really don’t know why that there’s all this shaming on carbs and fats, but never protein. There’s fat-free, low-carb, but never low-protein. In fact, packages emphasize and highlight their high protein content. I think this is spreading the wrong message. People need all three macronutrients – carbohydrates, lipids (fats) and proteins. Not one is better than the other. I decided to kick off my three part nutrition series (because there are three macronutrients) with fats. I think the word “fat” makes it easy for people to steer clear of them. I mean people are trying to lose fat when they put up on their New Year’s Resolution list: lose weight.

low-carb-low-fat.jpg
image source

However, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s the type of fats you eat that’s important. I can’t live a day without my daily dose of nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, you name it) which are packed with healthy fats and I can truly attest that nuts haven’t made me fat.

 

Now you might ask, what is a “healthy” and “unhealthy” fat? Healthy fats are unsaturated fats, while unhealthy ones are saturated or trans. Let me explain.

2495.jpg

 

SATURATED FATS| Fat molecules are made out of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, but mostly carbon and hydrogen. When fat is saturated, this means that the molecule is saturated with hydrogens. It’s reached the maximum number. This makes saturated fats solid at room temperature. Butter, for instance, is a prime example.

 

Saturated fats increase your LDL (low density lipoprotein) and increase your HDL. LDL is the cholesterol that is deemed “bad.” It causes plaque to build up in your blood vessels which overtime will have negative effects on your blood pressure and blood flow. HDL (high density lipoprotein) remove plaque from your blood vessels and transport them to your liver which destroys them. As you can see, while saturated fats do increase HDL, the good cholesterol, it increases LDL, the bad one, too. What if there was something that would only increase the good and decrease the bad? This is where unsaturated fats come in play.

99851.jpg

UNSATURATED FATS | This means that there is fewer hydrogens in a fat molecule than a saturated fat molecule. This allows the fat molecule to “kink” meaning, it has a weird curvy shape to it. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, so think olive oil.

 

Like hinted from above, unsaturated fats decrease LDL while increase HDL.

52009.jpg

TRANS FATS| This is the worst of the worst. Trans fats are man-made unsaturated fats HOWEVER, trans fats increase LDL and decrease HDL. It’s taking away the good stuff while bringing in the bad stuff. You may ask, where is trans fats found in? They’re found in pretty much all processed foods so chips, cookies, and so forth.

 

Now that you know what the types of fats there are, and which ones are bad and good for you, let me compile a list of the foods in all three types of categories of fat.

 

UNSATURATED:

  • nuts
  • fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel
  • avocado
  • olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil
  • seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • olives

 

SATURATED:

  • red meat
  • dairy products made from cream or whole milk
  • poultry
  • cheese
  • coconut

 

TRANS:

  • french fries
  • cheeseburgers
  • donuts
  • pies
  • chicken nuggets

 

So make sure that when you say you’re staying clear of fat, it’s not those healthy ones, but the unhealthy ones!

 

What is your favorite unsaturated food?

xoxo, Stephanie

 

Five Non-Food Related Things to Lift Your Mood

Five Non-Food Related Things to Lift Your Mood

Ice cream.jpg
image source

Let’s admit it. We all used food at least once in our lifetime to cope with negative things – our emotions, stress, or even with positive things – rewards and celebrations. In our society, the most common way to celebrate a birthday is to go out for dinner. The most common way to deal with a bad day is to eat a whole-tub of Ben and Jerry’s or eat all the chips in the Family Size chips bag.

 

But this also happens to healthy food too. I remember once, I ate so many nuts that the next day, my mom had to hide all the nuts in our house because seeing them made me feel like I would barf.

 

With that being said, it’s no surprise that even though we have our eating habits and exercise habits in check, if we don’t take care of our mental health, whatever health goal you have in mind for 2016 or your whole life isn’t going to come true.

 

Today, I’ve come up with five activities you can do that DO NOT involve food. Whether it’s to cope with stress or to celebrate.

manicure.jpg
image source

1.Get a manicure and/or pedicure | This is such a simple thing, yet this is my go-to stress reliever. It’s a great breather – not too short but not too long. It’s long enough that you have to hit the pause button while patiently waiting for your nails to dry, but not too long that it takes up a good chunk of your day.

 

lululemon
image source

2. Buy a new workout gear | This is one of my favorites as a self-confessed shopaholic. This sounds cliche, but it’s true. You feel more motivated to workout when you have the right clothes and gear to exercise in. So go splurge yourself on a few items from your favorite athletic wear store (my personal recommendation: Lululemon or Nike), or if you’re a shoeholic (which I’m also am … not good for my wallet at all), I recommend trying Brooks running shoes – they’re super comfortable.

 

collegeprepsterbed.jpg
image source

3.Take a nap. | I definitely need to tell this myself more often, but naps does wonders to your mood. Who knows? You may just feel upset and down because you’re lacking on your hours of sleep. Go set a timer for 30 minutes and sleep it out.

 

flowers.jpg
image source

4.Get yourself a bouquet of flowers | Or whatever that makes you feel spoiled. Personally, both my mom and I love getting flowers from the store to display in our house. The bright colors instantly lifts our moods up. So find whatever item that aesthetically pleases you.

 

Serial Podcast.jpg
image source

5. Buy a new song/album. | Instead of playing that one song you’re obsessed with on YouTube and having to annoyingly wait for the ads to pass or having to re-click the replay button numerous times, allow yourself to buy that song. Especially, if that’s song is Taylor Swift, because her songs are nowhere to be found on Spotify or Apple Music.

 

How do you usually deal with stress or rewards? 

xoxo, Stephanie

 

2 0 1 6

2 0 1 6

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful time ringing in the new year with your family and close friends. While I was counting down to 2016, I realized that 2015 for me was quite long. In my perspective, it was filled with more downs than ups, but nevertheless, I made it through! I didn’t exactly have any New Year’s Resolutions last year – maybe the standard: lose weight, manage time better, or control phone time – but this year, I was feeling especially ambitious and decided to make resolutions. Mine are more goals than resolutions, but they still work right?

 

I found a word I wanted to focus on for each month and underneath each word/month I wrote down more specific goals. Although at first I was uncomfortable on sharing my resolutions since they are personal, I think by sharing these, I’ll hold myself more accountable. So here are my 2016 Resolutions:

 

P.S. : Both Serena and I earnestly hope that we can expand our blog this year. We’re still in the learning process, but we believe that 2016 will be the year where our blog will go through major growths! We’re so happy you’ll be with us on this journey!

cpnyr
image source

January – BALANCE | Create balance in school. Create balance with food. Create balance with play and work. Create balance with your stress levels. Create balance with extracurriculars.

“Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create.” – Jana Kingsford

 

February – LOVE | Love yourself. Love others by showing patience, understanding. Reach out to old childhood friends. Pray for friends. Obey your parents.

“Love is not about how much you say ‘I love you,’ but how much you can prove that it’s true.”

work.jpg
image source

March – LOOK UP/FOCUS | Find ways that help you focus. Look up to your role models – who they are and why. Look into things that interest you. Look up from your phone screen and take in your surroundings. Focus and study (this is in time for finals week haha)

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – George Lucas

explore.jpg
image source

April – EXPLORE | Explore what extra things your school offers. Explore where you could with avolicious. Explore and find new friends. Explore the school campus and find your own study niches. Explore camps you could attend over the summer. Explore your limits and boundaries by doing something challenging.

“Extraordinary things are always hiding in places people never think to look.” – Jodi Picoult

 

May – PRIORITIZE | Schedule your day with only three priorities. Find your priorities and figure out why. Prioritize finishing the school year strong. Prioritize others before yourself.

“It’s not about ‘having’ time. It’s about making time.”

read.jpg
image source

June – READ | Read a book a week. Read one classic. Read the newspaper daily.

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison

move.jpg
image source

July – MOVE/EXERCISE | Find new exercises that you enjoy. Go outside. Workout outside. Do at least two hikes with parents.

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” – Carol Welch

 

August – REFLECT | Check point. Evaluate progress. Celebrate the positives. Learn from experiences. Determine new goals. Write and reflect. Look and move forward.

“Take pride in how far you’ve come; take faith in how far you can go.”

 

September – ORGANIZE | Organize for upcoming school year. Organize school documents on computer. Organize wardrobe. Organize school supplies. Organize room.

“Out of clutter, find simplicity…” – Einstein

October – MANAGE | Manage priorities. Manage time. Manage temptations. Manage school and personal life.

“The bad new is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler

 

November – GIVE/THANKS | Write down three things you are thankful for every day. Put yourself after others. Give something to someone everyday whether its through an action, item, or your time.

“The happiest people do not have the best of everything. They make the best of everything they have.”

 

December – JOY | Be joyful. Be happy. Smile more. Give our daily affirmations. Stop comparing or complaining.

“Joy is the best makeup.” – Anne Lamott

 

What do you have planned for 2016?

xoxo, Stephanie

Six Tips to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Six Tips to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

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.

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 6.28.08 PM

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

 

xoxo, Stephanie