As the holiday season is finally springing up around the corner, many of us are wondering how we will be keeping off the extra pounds and stress that can come from the company of family, friends, and great food selections. During this time, it is simple to forget about the daily routines that we have kept throughout the year. Now, it is more important than ever to keep these values close and tune up on some personal choices that we sometimes rather forget. Check out the helpful checklist below and exercise some of these simple techniques to keep yourself in line for the upcoming year.
- Start the day out with a good one hour cardio or weight workout. Just like you should with any other day, it’s a great way to loosen yourself up and get you prepped for a big day with family and friends. I would not recommend doing an extra amount of exercise, but one that makes you generally feel good. Also, working out will create a calorie deficit, in preparation for the rest of the day’s meals. By keeping a routine to workout everyday, it will wipe out any worries about gaining weight during the holidays. From this point on, slightly lengthen your workout times throughout the holidays so you can get a head start on those New Year’s resolutions!
- Limit yourself. Start your meal with a salad so you don’t eat as much during dinner. Before you move on to the rest of the meal, check out all that is available to eat. Choose how you’ll fill your calorie allotment and don’t waste them on foods that you can eat any other day. Since this is the holiday season, pick the foods that are seasonal to this time. I have always the taste of leftover turkey on a sandwich, so why not have it? Leftovers are great, so don’t feel that you’ll need to stuff yourself to oblivion just to get rid of the food.
- After dinner, go for a long walk. It doesn’t need to be anything intense, but just enough to keep your blood moving and help you digest your turkey meal. Many times we’ll feel very sluggish and needing a nap after eating our large plates of turkey. That tryptophan in turkey can really take it out of you. Try and counter it by going for a nice stroll after dinner and before desert. Not only will it keep you awake and feeling better, it will help keep the pounds off and lower the possibility of heartburn.
- Don’t skip meals throughout the day. Start the day right with a well-balanced breakfast that is also low in calories. Aim for a breakfast that is high in fiber and protein, and low in calories. The fiber and protein will hold your appetite over for a long time while you are saving your calorie count to be filled by your large dinner. Treat today as a normal day with fruits and snacks to keep yourself from craving the next meal. All of this will prevent you from overeating and becoming too bloated feeling.
- Get in some good sleep. Try and keep your sleeping pattern the same, even though the holidays sometimes throws it off. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and heavy meals right before you head to bed. It’s never a good thing to go to sleep on a stuffed stomach. If you’re feeling a little sluggish before eating the big meal, try taking a quick, 20-minute power nap. These can keep you fully energized and going for the rest of the day.
- Eat slow. A ton of benefits come from not eating too quickly. By slowing down your eating, it is much more likely that you’ll be satisfied with only one plate serving. This will give time for the food to begin digesting and will also prevent overeating. That, and it’s always a great feeling to have a bunch of leftovers to give away to family and keep for upcoming work days. In addition, it is very likely to get indigestion when we overeat, but it is also possible to get it when you eat too quickly and swallow air while eating. Try slowing your eating while chewing your food thoroughly with your mouth closed. This will force you to slow down and also keep all of that unwanted air out.
- Watch the alcohol intake. If you’re in the calorie watching business, don’t forget that alcohol calories can fill your allotment up in no time. It’s not a bad thing to drink, in fact, it can be very beneficial. Just be sure to limit the amount calories produced by alcohol. A possible way to limit yourself, that I’ve found handy, is to drink some sparkling water in between alcoholic drinks. This should spark an interest in your mouth while also hydrating your body.
Hopefully you’ll choose to use at least some of these ideas tomorrow, on the big turkey day. I hope that everyone has a great, safe, and delicious Thanksgiving. Have a good one!
Photo Credit: Olin Gilbert