How to feel great during the holidays (even if Aunt Mabel offers you too much food…)
It's such a challenge. At the very time of year when you want to look and feel your best, you are confronted with more food choices than the rest of the year combined.
Depending on where you are in the world, your calorie intake might be a little different, but this is still a pretty good reference point. According to the Calorie Control Council, a typical holiday dinner can include 3,000 calories. If you include appetizers and drinks, it’s very likely around 4,500 calories in one day.
So how do you enjoy the celebrations during the holidays, without feeling like you are depriving yourself of some of your favorite comfort foods?
And how do you deal with the social pressure of not disappointing Aunt Mabel or your mother-in-law, when they keep trying to get you to eat food you normally avoid?
The easiest thing to do is to manage your food intake all the rest of the month, AND make sure you do the other things you know will give you energy and help you feel good.
Let’s start with FOOD!
● Drink 4 to 5 cups of green tea every day. It includes an antioxidant that triggers the release of fat from cells, and helps your liver turn fat into energy. Then after the tea, go work out for 25 minutes to get the full benefit.
● Every time you eat, make sure you consume both fiber and protein. They fill you up and keep your blood-sugar levels stable.
● Eat an apple every day. It’s full of fiber, which makes you feel full.
● Eat more legumes like lentils and chickpeas. They are full of protein, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, and make you feel full.
● If you’re feeling bloated, eat some fruit like kiwi, honeydew melon and papaya. They prevent water retention and encourage your bowels to get moving.
● Drink water. Not only to stay hydrated, but to fill up your belly so you feel fuller. Water also flushes out any excess sodium you may eat, that makes you feel bloated.
● Start each day with a healthy smoothie instead of cereal or pastry.
● If you’re eating out, instead of an appetizer and a dinner, order two appetizers. The portions are smaller, but it’s still usually plenty of food.
● Watch how much wine you consume, since there are about 120 calories in a 5 oz. glass.
● When feeling ready for a snack, reach for almonds instead of cookies or candy canes. They are full of fiber and protein, which will make you less hungry for all the other stuff.
● Eat a banana every day. There are so many benefits to eating bananas! But they include: sleeping better because of the tryptophan and magnesium; feeling less bloated because of the potassium; having a more stable blood sugar; feeling full because of the type of starch…
● Eating chocolate? Make it dark. Small amounts of dark chocolate include flavonoids that help regulate metabolism by alleviating stress.
When it comes to food, the key ideas to remember are to fill up on foods and drinks that have fiber and protein, and that help relieve bloating.
Activities that help you manage your weight and health
● Work out first thing in the morning, before breakfast. Since your body is already in a calorie deficit, this exercise encourages your body to use body fat as an energy source
● Do weight training activities – whether that’s using dumbbells or using your own bodyweight. It adds more muscle to your body, which helps you burn the extra food energy from your holiday meals.
● Get out and walk every day. Try to get to 10,000 steps.
● Once the sun sets, don’t eat any more food for the rest of the day. This is a type of mini-fast that helps you burn body fat
● Sleep better by getting colder. Turn the thermostat down at night. Even better, take a hot shower right before you hop into bed!
● Do interval training when you work out. That means periods of intense workouts - say, 30 to 60 seconds - followed by periods of less intense workouts. As you get stronger, increase your periods of intense activity (and that means full out exercise).
● Have a good laugh. A really good laugh. Hearty laughter helps you burn calories!
● Push away your plate when you feel 80% full. Don’t try to overstuff yourself!
These types of activities can easily fit into most daily schedules. Don’t feel you have to lose all your weight in one workout! A little every day will make a really big difference by the time January 1 rolls around. ;-)
Speaking of which, if you’d like to have a conversation with me about getting through the holidays and starting off the year with a health and fitness plan, please contact me right here (803)389-7600 or via Email at FitEmmett@gmail.com
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