10 Things to Remember When Eating This Holiday

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A time for family, friends, and food! It’s very easy to let your common sense approach to food and activity go out the window during the holidays. Use the following 10 tips to side step potential “diet disasters” this holiday season!

1. Calories still exist

Bites, leftovers, and tastes (BLTs) are what get us in trouble over the holidays (and every other day of the year). Taking a taste here and there is fine, but they add up! All of these little extra nibbles have calories. Minimize these moments by eating hearty and healthy meals with a small treat.

2. Cookies don’t qualify as “breakfast”

We’ve all done it. You think about how many calories are in the cookies, do the math and realize it’s the same as breakfast. WOOHOO…or NOT! Keep in mind, it’s not just a total calories game. Eating two cookies isn’t the same as a 300-calorie salad! Eat the meal then have a cookie, but consider doing some activity later to make up for it.

3. Don’t put yourself on the “naughty” list

No food or beverage choice is absolutely wrong, especially during the holidays. If you love eggnog, there’s a way to enjoy a glass and not go up a dress size. Cut back at another meal or add steps. More importantly, the last thing you should do is berate yourself and assume that all is lost.

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4. Double fist it

If you’re planning to partake in a few adult beverages during the festivities, make sure to start with water and follow your cocktail with a non-alcoholic drink. Not only will you consume fewer calories, but you will definitely feel better the next day!

5. If it ain’t broke… don’t fix it!

Your grandma’s famous sugar cut-outs have both a physical and emotional appeal you should NOT deny. There’s no need for substitutions to make low-fat versions (unless you want to). Make the real version instead, but use smaller cookie cutters or pie slices.

Remember, if the low-fat version leaves you longing for more because it just doesn’t hit the spot, you may want more. Better off making the real deal.

6. Don’t forget about your activity

Our to-do list of promises during this time of year is crazy. When we pile on all of these self-imposed must-dos, the only person who loses is YOU! With all of these promises we usually lose sight of exercise.

Working out reminds you to make smarter food choices later. Find time for some sort of activity, whether it’s a gym session (hint: Anytime Fitness is open) or backyard games.

7. Join the kids’ table

Two things are happening over in kiddy land that might serve you well during this time of year:

  1. The kids are usually eating on smaller plates, with smaller utensils and drinking from smaller cups. Try this trick at your next food gathering.
  2. There are usually fewer people at the small table. Did you know, eating with more people makes you consume more calories? At a big sit-down supper, be the last one to start and the second one to stop eating.

8. Pick up your phone

Sounds crazy, right? Try this: Commit to tracking your food intake during this busy time of year. Even having the app front and center on your device (where you have to look at it every time you turn on your phone) will be a gentle reminder to pay attention to what you’re consuming. Awareness is the first step.

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9. Ignore the in-laws

Stressful interactions lead to mindless eating, which can all negatively affect your “bottom line.” Plan ahead and develop alternative methods for coping. Try a few deep breaths, leaving the stressful situation, or sitting at another table.

10. Step away from the buffet and snacks

The best thing you can do to avoid mindless nibbles is to step away from the table. Try not to get stuck socializing near the buffet. And, if it’s not rude, simply stand up when you’re done eating and get moving.

If you’re the host, make sure to keep food and drinks centralized in one area to remove the temptation of grazing.

The more engaged you stay during this joyous time of the year, the less likely you are to wake up January 1 with a weight loss resolution!

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Shannon Fable, 2013 IDEA and 2006 ACE Instructor of the Year, is the VP of Fitness Programming for the FIT4MOM® franchise. For more than two decades, she has helped impressive brands such as Anytime Fitness, Schwinn®, Power Systems, ACE, Silver Sneakers, and BOSU® as a fitness business and programming consultant. An experienced educator, freelance writer, and certified Book Yourself Solid® Business Coach, she helps fitness entrepreneurs navigate the industry and make more money. Fable serves as Vice Chair of the ACE Board of Directors and is the founder and co-owner of GroupEx PRO®, a cloud-based group fitness management tool.