Thanksgiving officially marked the holiday season. Often, the holiday season gives us reason (or an excuse) to celebrate and indulge. The last thing any of us want, however, is to wake up the day after New Year’s, dumbfounded as to how we gained ten pounds in a month and a half. If you are hoping to avoid this scenario, be proactive! Here’s a plan to help you enjoy, while not overdoing it:
1. Holiday Calendar
Create a holiday event calendar where non-event days are color-coded light blue and event days are color-coded bright red and weeks with multiple events bright yellow. Events include extended family dinners, work and social parties, and happy hours. When possible, aim to have no more than one “event” a week.
2. Packed Event Weeks
For weeks that are especially festive, do the following:
- Exercise: Exercise an extra 20 minutes each day you exercise and add in an extra day of activity. Also, walk as much as possible to get where you are going. This will help burn off extra calories consumed.
- Non-Event Day Nutrition: On non-event days, drink protein shakes for breakfast and lunch (try the apple banana and the berry shake recipes). They are high in fiber and other nutrients, but will help you keep your digestive tract in working order to keep waste moving through your system. Have a sensible dinner of salad and some lean protein. And, when eating snacks between meals, stick with vegetables and fruit.
- Event Day Nutrition: Do the same as on non-event days, but skip snacks. Right before your event, however, drink two glasses of water  (16-oz) and eat a snack that is well-balanced with healthy fat, fiber and protein (E.g., an apple and a quarter cup of nuts). This will help you avoid extreme hunger at the event.
3. At Events
Indulge with purpose and in the things that are worth it. Decide want you want to indulge in before the party—alcohol, dessert, chips—so that you can keep yourself in check from over-indulging. Meanwhile, fill-up on things you know to be healthy, leaving little room for unhealthier foods. Here is a good order in which to eat:
- Fibrous Vegetables (leafy greens, carrots, cucumber, peppers, celery, onions, etc.)
- Lean Protein (turkey, fish, chicken, ham, lean red meat)
- Starchy Vegetables (potatoes, yams, corn, peas)
- Snacks, Sweets, and Alcohol
As you experience the holiday season, enjoy! Don’t obsess about weight gain, just be smart about your habits and choices.
Originally published on SheerBalance