Tips From a Health Coach on Eating Your Way Through the Holidays
One of the biggest struggles most people face from October through December is avoiding the temptation to over-indulge on high calorie foods that lead to additional weight gain prior to the year-end.
It’s no secret that excess weight leads to a higher potential for disease, gut problems, and hormone imbalance, but it also causes us to literally hate what we see when we look in the mirror! Poor body image is by far the most stated health concern from women reaching out to work with me as their nutrition and fitness coach than any other issue they may be facing.
So what’s a girl to do when faced with a holiday party table loaded with heavy casseroles, bread galore, and irresistible desserts of many kinds to choose from?
First, just breathe! 😁 The last thing I want is for you to feel deprived or overwhelmed when you should be enjoying the season!
Not everything on that table is bad for you! Let’s work through this together.
Tips from a Health Coach on Eating Your Way Through the Holidays
Tip #1: Eat Beforehand
About an hour before you head out the door to whatever holiday event you’re committed to being at, have a very small meal of protein, veggies, and a healthy fat. This combination will fill your belly, balance your blood sugar, and leave you satiated which means you are less likely to be interested in gorging yourself on foods you’ll regret eating. You won’t be too full to eat at the party, but you also won’t be starved, so you won’t overeat.
Tip #2: Be Mindful
Pay attention to what you’re putting on your plate, how large the portion size is, and how that particular food tends to make you feel when you’ve eaten it in the past. If you always feel bloated and sick after eating said food, then choose something different this time. Don’t pile insane amounts of food on your plate. You will find that smaller portions are still satisfying and when you take time to chew your food slowly and enjoy the flavors, you’ll be less likely to go back for seconds.
Tip #3: Practice the 90/10 Rule
I teach my clients that it’s okay to splurge every once in a while. Life should be lived! So 90% of the time, we should choose to eat and live healthy. The other 10% of the time it’s perfectly fine to enjoy that slice of cake with a scoop of ice cream, or that oh so comforting dish of macaroni and cheese, with a big hunk of Italian cheesy bread on the side. This is how we avoid feelings of deprivation.
Tip #4: Crowd Out the Bad Foods
One excellent way to stay on track with your healthy eating goals is to fill your plate with healthy foods first – veggies are my personal favorite choice! Turkey or Beef is another great option. Deviled eggs are a good healthy fat that is also high in protein which will fill you up faster.
Tip #5: Watch Your Sugar
Another common theme I educate my clients on is the importance of limiting sugar consumption each day. Sugar is necessary for energy, but we don’t need to consume toxic amounts of it! In fact, avoiding refined sugar altogether is really a good idea. But, when you’re at a party you don’t get the luxury of being in control of the ingredients, right? So, my suggestion around the dessert table is to look for the healthiest option, preferably dark chocolate. The darker, the better. In fact, I would even encourage you to tuck a dark chocolate bar into your purse and if there is nothing healthy to choose from at the party, whip out your own dark chocolate for your dessert! High quality, organic dark chocolate is low in sugar and high in health benefits!
Tip #6: Log It
I always say, you can’t change what you don’t measure. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s really important that you’re logging your food daily either on paper or in an App like MyFitnessPal. My clients are often blown away to learn how many calories their favorite foods have or how much sugar they are consuming in a day. Once they start logging their food, they are better equipped to make healthier choices for their body.
Tip #7: Work it Off
After indulging on holiday foods, plan in advance for how you will work it off. This could include a family walk after dinner, or an active game of basketball in the driveway. Or, you could just plan a trip to the gym for a quick workout! Either way, you’ll feel much better moving your body and knowing that you didn’t over-indulge in the first place.
Tip #8: Control the Ingredients When You’re Able To
If you’re the host of the holiday party, great! This is perfect for you to be able to control the ingredients of each dish so they are healthier and for you to determine the menu itself! Embrace it! There is nothing wrong with a very tasty and very healthy holiday meal! Your guests will probably thank you for being so thoughtful that way!
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