But you already knew that.
Growing up, I remember having years where the attitude was to let go and settle in for the ride. December simply equaled 5 pounds gained. You knew you were going to step on the scale in January in a little bit of shock. Wasn’t I supposed to be enjoying myself? Isn’t that what the holidays, and all those parties, are all about – fun, revelry, eating some of everything? How come some people came out unscathed and I always felt like a loser for not being disciplined enough?
Turns out, I was never alone. For many people, December is one long blow out.
One key lesson I learned is that while we have an abundance of holidays and parties to celebrate in one month, it doesn’t mean ALL month long. We are not a slave to holiday eating and drinking. We might overeat and over drink on occasion but we have plenty of opportunity in between holidays and parties to regroup.
I learned, as well as the many people who are successful at maintaining their weight through the holidays, some simple techniques that I have coined Simplify. Lighten. Reduce. It’s like the 80/20 rule for the holidays. Here’s how it works:
Eat Simple and Nourishing Meals. One Thanksgiving dinner is not going to blow all your good efforts away. However, this is no excuse to keep the party going all month long. After a holiday like Thanksgiving, where the tendency is to eat more than we normally would, make a promise to step back and get on track again. Focus on including:
- Leafy greens such as kale, collards and spinach – nutritional powerhouses with almost no calories.
- Great fats, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, avocados, extra virgin olive oil – keep you full and satisfied.
- Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa and wild rice – good for your mood and keeps you satisfied too.
- Good for you proteins, such as salmon, sardines and organic chicken – healthy fats and clean protein equals steady energy.
Lighten your meals. In between holidays forgo fried foods, desserts, appetizers, the bread basket at the restaurant, cream sauces, the extra glass of wine. Steam your vegetables or lightly sauté. It’s all waiting for you at your next party.
Reduce your food intake. We eat with our eyes and our everyday meals are no exception. Most of us are notorious for underestimating how much we eat (and overestimating how much we exercise). Simple things such as using a salad plate for meals, making half your plate vegetables and cutting down on whole grains and proteins, putting half of the food you normally eat on your plate, eating and pausing to check in with your hunger are all great ways to reduce your calorie intake. If you are still hungry, by all means eat some more, but you might be surprised.
Now I would love to hear from you. How do you handle the days in between the holidays? Leave me a comment below!