It’s here: holiday season. You know what that means! Cookies, candies, treats, desserts, huge meals, buffets, giant plates, and weight gain! (Hopefully not that last one!!) Unfortunately, that’s what holiday season seems to bring since it’s a natural time to treat ourselves and spend time indulging in huge meals with family.
Holiday season always worries me. For me, it all starts with Halloween… candy EVERYWHERE! And I can’t resist candy; I have the biggest sweet tooth in the world. If it has chocolate in it, I want it.
Then, there’s Thanksgiving about a month later, posing another problem: it’s feast time! I can hardly resist getting seconds, thirds, and even fourths during my family’s holiday meal.
Perhaps the worst thing of all, though, is Christmas season, starting shortly after Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas! But for almost the entire month of December, you can’t walk into the kitchen at home, go to a friends, or visit a store without being offered a holiday treat! I get bombarded with offerings of cookies and candy, pie and cake, and pretzels with chocolate. When I see puppy chow, I inhale it like there’s no tomorrow. It’s almost impossible for me to say no, and I’m afraid this year I might overindulge and regret it for months to come.
It’s a struggle to find a balance between clean eating and treating yourself for the holidays. It really is, and no one is perfect. I know it will be a challenge for me over these next couple months, but I am trying to prepare myself early! I’ve come up with some tips that help me, and I hope they will help you too!
Don’t deprive yourself.
If you try to go the entire holiday season without treating yourself, you’ll go insane. Seriously, you will. Believe me. It’s happened to me before. A few days before Halloween, I found myself simply sniffing my roommate’s Halloween Oreos because I was trying to avoid eating any sweets. My boyfriend said I was nuts, and told me to eat one. I gave in. Oh darn, I had to eat an Oreo…
Set a treat limit for yourself.
Don’t let yourself eat 3,495 cookies each day (even if you really want to). Set a limit for yourself, whether it’s two treats each day, or one treat per week. Stick to your limit, and know that if you’re craving something, you can have it again the next day/week. I want my limit to be 17 treats each day, but I think I’ll stick to about 3 per week.
Go crazy for your holiday feast!
What fun are the holiday meals if you restrict yourself and avoid all the delicious foods? Let yourself go hog-wild during that meal; it only happens once a year! No joke, I’ll probably eat 6 plates of food at Thanksgiving, plus 2 or 3 desserts. Then, on Christmas, I’ll eat another 6 plates of food and 2 or 3 desserts. Am I worried I’ll gain weight? Yes. Am I going to regret eating like that? Yes. Then why do it? Because I love food, and once in a while it feels good to eat like a wild beast. I know I’ll be able to burn off those calories eventually, even if it is hard work.
Don’t worry too much.
This is like the pot calling the kettle black. I worry wayyyyy too much! But I am working on it. If you worry too much, you’ll ruin the holiday season for yourself. Instead of worrying, find a way to channel that energy toward something else. Spend more time with your family, shovel snow, bake healthy treats, read a book, wrap presents, go caroling, or go Christmas shopping!
Stay on track with your workouts.
Stick with your regular workout routine. As long as you don’t completely hibernate during the winter, your body will keep burning calories from everything you eat. Keep working out like you usually do, and you will stay active enough to stay healthy! I recommend taking at least one day off from your workouts each week to let yourself recover. I actually take two days off to make sure my joints and muscles aren’t overworked.
Don’t take any leftovers home.
No matter how much you want to take home leftovers of that amazing pumpkin pie your granny made for you, don’t do it. Know where that pie will end up? That’s right: your hips/butt/thighs. You know it’s true! I could live off my grandma’s pumpkin pie, but I’d weigh half a ton, and I don’t want to do that. So enjoy the meal while it’s meal time, but give the leftovers away, or leave them with grandma.
Don’t be afraid to turn down a treat offering.
You walk into the office, your boss offers you a cookie. Oh no… what do you do? Just say no thank you! Shocker, right?? Just be polite, don’t make a stupid excuse, and say a simple “no thank you.” Don’t think your boss will fire you for saying no. Same with friends or teachers. They’ll understand if you say no, as long as you do it in a nice way. You might feel uncomfortable turning it down, but you’d feel a lot more uncomfortable gaining 65 pounds this holiday season.
Stay out of the kitchen.
Don’t go near that candy dish. Or cookie jar. Or platter of goodies. Or fridge full of fudge. Or cupboard full of pie. Just back away from the kitchen, and nobody gets hurt. Out of sight, out of mind. If you’re not hungry, don’t go in there.
Don’t go down the holiday aisle.
The holiday aisle at the store is nothing but evil temptation. How dare you put all the unhealthy, delicious goodies in one central location and expect me not to start drooling?? I avoid this aisle at all costs because my self-control wavers during holiday season. Just one look at all those sweets, and I want one (or 12). If you avoid this aisle like I do, you can save yourself before it’s too late!
Chew gum while you bake holiday treats.
If you’re anything like me, you love baking during the holiday season. No matter what I’m baking, I’m also eating the batter/dough as I make it. Not just a little nibble either. I’m talking tons. If I didn’t eat the snickerdoodle dough, I could probably get that 5 dozen cookies, but instead I get about 4. I can’t help it! I’ve found that if I chew gum while baking, I’m less likely to shove any dough in my mouth because getting food mashed in your gum is nasty and tastes weird. Give it a try!
Don’t forget holiday drinks add up.
Whether you prefer eggnog, hot chocolate, lattes, fancy Starbucks drinks, alcohol, or punch, drinks have calories. I love eggnog more than life itself, but that stuff clogs my arteries instantly. I try to limit myself to a few glasses during the holiday season, or just a few small sips here and there. I know everyone is in love with Starbucks holiday drinks, but those are loaded with fat and sugar, so don’t overdo it! Remember to indulge, but don’t go overboard.
Enjoy yourself and be happy.
Remember this: healthy food is good for your body, but treat food is good for your soul. You can’t restrict yourself forever. What kind of life is that? It’s all about treating yourself in moderation, but if you feel like eating extra this year, do it! Remember to love yourself no matter what happens this holiday season. So what if you gain a few pounds? You are still the same beautiful, amazing person, and we all love you exactly the same 🙂
I hope these tips help you enjoy your holiday season! Let me know in the comments what tips you have for me!!
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