With so many yummy food and treat options around the holidays, it can be difficult for many people to stick with their journey of weight loss during the holidays. Between celebrating and the stress that can come along with all those holiday to-dos, you may get off track and lose sight of your long-term weight loss goals.
That’s why we try to encourage our Weightloss patients at Mirabile M.D. to stay the course by making healthy choices during the holidays. With our tips for staying on track, you can learn how to eat healthily and still enjoy this special time of year.
1. Find Alternatives to Holiday Staples
One of the best ways to make healthy choices during the holidays is by finding delicious alternatives to foods that are holiday staples. While this can pose a challenge—especially if you’re not necessarily the one cooking—you’ll find that there are actually many ways to substitute certain holiday staples. For example:
- Fresh green beans instead of green bean casserole
- Mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes
- Soy or almond eggnog alternatives
- Fresh fruit instead of heavy desserts
- Mocktails or light red wines rather than heavy alcoholic beverages like beer.
Additionally, bringing your own food or drinks to a holiday party or get-together is typically greatly appreciated by the host, and other guests may enjoy the healthy alternatives, as well.
If you have a hard time finding alternatives for certain foods, just remember that it’s okay to indulge a little, but make sure not to overdo it. Eat smaller portions and be choosy about which dishes you decide to eat versus the ones you should cut out.
2. Don’t Drink Your Calories
As we briefly mentioned above, we highly recommend swapping out alcoholic or other beverages such as coffee, soda, and juice for something that’s a bit on the healthier side. This is because these drinks tend to carry a lot of extra calories, and drinking them throughout the day can add up very quickly.
Alcohol consumption, especially, tends to escalate during the holidays for many people who want to celebrate the season. However, alcohol also contains empty calories, and if you’re drinking consistently during the day, you are likely drinking a lot more calories than you think.
It’s also important to keep in mind that large amounts of alcohol can lead to lower inhibitions and impaired judgment, which may make you more likely to indulge. Instead, limit yourself to one or two drinks, and make sure to drink plenty of water.
3. Manage Your Holiday Stress
Healthy eating during the holidays isn’t just about choosing the right food. When you’re feeling stressed out, you may have a tendency to overeat or give in to unhealthy food choices like junk food as a way to cope. However, this is not a wise idea, as it can quickly throw you off your Weightloss journey and you may miss out on key benefits of losing weight.
If you are feeling extra stressed this holiday season—maybe because you have to organize family gatherings, cook a large meal, or keep your home in tip-top shape for all the guests—you’ll want to manage your stress levels accordingly.
Consider taking a hot bath, meditating, exercising, or listening to calming music before the festivities begin. And, if you find yourself overwhelmed in the middle of the holiday celebration, it doesn’t hurt to step away and have a moment to yourself to calm the anxiety.
4. Remember Your Goals
The best way to achieve your goals is to remember why you’re tackling them in the first place. Sometimes, when we lose sight of our goals, it can be very easy to fall off track—especially when it takes a long time to reach them.
Weight loss can be a difficult process and many people may become impatient and give up. However, when you remember why you’re on your weight loss journey and what is motivating you to live a healthier lifestyle, it can be a lot easier to hold yourself accountable.
5. Create a Support System
It can be difficult to hold yourself accountable in your weight loss journey if you don’t have a solid support system in place. If you’re attending a family gathering and other guests are unaware that you’re trying to lose weight, you may start to feel pressure from others to indulge.
Having friends and family on your side can help hold you accountable around the caloric-heavy food. These people can support you in maintaining healthy habits, make sure you don’t over-indulge, and remind you why your weight loss journey is so important in the first place.
6. Track Your Food Intake
While it may not be all that fun to track your food intake around the holidays, it is important if you want to continue your weight loss journey during this time. If you are planning on indulging at a holiday event, tracking what you eat can ensure you don’t overdo it. Additionally, it gives you some flexibility to enjoy everything in moderation and not completely restrict yourself, as this can lead to binge eating.
Tracking your food can be as simple as noting how many calories or macros (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) you are ingesting during the day. Also, it helps to focus on your meal while you’re eating. With so many people around, you may find yourself easily distracted during a meal, making it easy to lose track of your food intake.
Instead, choose your food wisely, sit in a quiet area, and have awareness of what you are about to put in your body. And, if you eat slowly and focus on each bit, you will become full a lot more quickly.
Weight loss during the holidays can be a challenge, but you’re not alone in your journey. Our providers at Mirabile M.D. are here to support you so you can reach your weight loss goals and maintain them long-term. To learn more, contact us today at 913-888-7546.