“I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know...
Where the treetops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow…”
Oh my, where did the time go? The holidays are coming. You can almost hear the Christmas ham singing… Oops! Did I just say Christmas ham? Guilty.
Alright, the talk of Christmas doesn’t just make my eyes twinkle. It also makes my mouth water, if you know what I mean. I can almost imagine the Christmas feast laying on the table, calling me. Christmas turkey and ham, eggnog, pies, cheesecakes, and a lot of other festive foods.
Christmas All Year
When I was younger, I didn’t even think about calories during the holidays. But what I learned is, our appetite doesn’t just turn off after the holiday season. I mean it kinda triggers something within us, so if we overdo it during the holidays we also tend to eat a lot even after the holidays. Loooong after the holidays.
To make matters worse, many of us try to starve ourselves on a crash diet and/or punish ourselves by doing killer workouts. Why? Because it’s summer already and we want to be bikini-ready. Remember how time flies? But these temporary fixes don’t work, believe me. There’s a chance you’ll lose some weight, but the possibility of those pounds coming back is great.
And before we know it, it’s Christmas time once again. Helloooo Christmas feast! It’s a cycle! Holiday eating can easily add a pound or two every year. Over time, weight gain might seem inevitable.
I’ve broken free of that cycle by adopting some easy-to-follow steps to healthy holiday eating.
1. Be mindful. You don’t have to start going on a diet during the holidays. But at least maintain your ideal weight. Be mindful of what you put into your mouth. Try your best to stay away from munchies like sugar cookies, caramel tarts, and Christmas edition M&Ms. Or at least try hard to limit the goodies.
When on a party, scan foods first in buffets before eating. Choose the ones you like best. Yes, you can! You’re not going to gain weight instantly by eating “special foods”. However, examine the buffet table first cause if you don’t you’ll end up heaping your plate with too much food. Choose healthy foods first like salads, then add foods you’ve been dying to taste.
2. Never go to a party hungry. You’ll have a tendency to eat everything in sight. Instead, eat something to curb your appetite before going, like a light snack. Fruits are a great choice. Personally, I like avocados and they are proven to suppress appetite. Greek yogurt works too. If you’re in a hurry to eat, then at least drink a glass of water. And say no to servers offering finger foods and wine.
3. Chew slowly. When eating, all minds are equal. No geniuses, no slow thinkers. It takes 20 long minutes (give or take) for our brains to realize we are satisfied. Let me give you a scenario. You can wolf down a whole plate of macaroni salad, a 3-ounce steak, a couple slices of pork & ham pie, all in 20 minutes. And when you feel you’re about to explode, you realize you haven’t had dessert yet. Worse, the party just started. So remember, eat slowly, savor every bite to avoid overeating.
4. Bring a healthy dish. When invited to a party, prepare something healthy like a lighter version of baked beans or spinach and chicken casserole. In this way, you’ll have something to eat in case everything on the table are prepared with cream, butter or tons of sugar. It’s okay to have a taste of what other guests brought to the party, you don’t want to be dubbed a food snob.
5. Don’t put off your exercise routine. The holidays is not an excuse to procrastinate. Stick to your workout schedule. If you’re not a gym buff, try some 30-minute brisk walking in the morning or afternoon. You can also walk around the house (or the party venue) after eating or better yet, pop in your favorite kid-friendly hip-hop dance fitness DVD ;) . If you eat in a restaurant, park farther so you can walk back to your car. The idea is to stay physically active.
These are tips that I have to keep reminding myself about every year. Because…. Yes y’all… I do love to eat!