6 Tips to Stay on Track Through the Holidays

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It’s the holiday season and another year comes racing to a close with plenty of sweets, food, and drink to go with it. If you’re trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy weight, the availability of holiday treats and trimmings can make getting to January without any extra pounds a real challenge.

 Here are a few tips to help you ring in the new year without any extra weight.

1. Eat more veggies. Make a conscious effort to eat 2-3 more servings of vegetables than you’re eating right now. Raw or cooked, it doesn’t matter. Try vegetable soup, steamed vegetables, stir-fried, sautéed, roasted. Vegetables are high fiber and nutritious. Buy seasonal if you can and try something new to mix up your routine.

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Stay on track by eating more veggies.

2. Stash snacks. Have low glycemic snacks ready to eat before a party, buffet, or formal dinner. Snacking keeps you from being over-hungry and sets you up for making more thoughtful food choices. Some of my favorites are apple with raw almonds, apple slices with peanut butter (no added sugar), carrots and hummus, and Greek yogurt with grapes and pecan pieces.

3. Hydrate. Drinking plenty of water (8-12 glasses a day) will help keep everything flowing like it’s supposed to and will help you feel satisfied when eating low-glycemic, high fiber foods. Flavor your water with fruit like lemon or lime juice, orange slices, or other fruit for a little variety.

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Stay hydrated.

4. Survey the buffet. Buffets are common for holiday parties because they’re easy and give you so much variety. If possible, before picking up your plate, look over the buffet and do your best to make good choices. Avoid the fried stuff and stick with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and protein.

5. Be selective. If you decide you want dessert, no problem. Serve a little, enjoy it, and be done with it. Just don’t go crazy and act like you’ll never be able to eat dessert again in your life. I speak from experience when I say the weight you gain can end up staying with you way past that moment of deliciousness and it’s probably not worth it.

6. Stay focused on your goal. Even though it may be tough to pass up rich and decadent food when it’s right in front of you, going crazy with mindless eating and drinking that results in extra pounds on the scale or not being able to button your pants can be discouraging and even depressing. Keep your mental image of success clear and at the forefront of your mind.

Food is an important part of many celebrations but keep food in perspective. Be mindful about the many things that make this time of year so special: time with family and friends, giving generously, helping those in need, spiritual renewing, and much more. Enjoy those things and make your good health another thing to celebrate.

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What’s Your Body Trying to Tell You?

One day last week I had a long list of things to do and was determined to get them all done even though I wasn’t feeling 100%. I had run a 5K in the cold and rain the day before and really wanted to go home and treat myself to chicken soup and rest, but I pushed through and did what I needed to do, got home late, tired, and cranky. Ugghh.

When will I learn?

Listen to your body.

Listening to your body is not to be used as an excuse to get out of things you really don’t want to do. Not at all. It’s to be used to help you decide that doing something you really want to do (work or family obligations, fun stuff, etc.), can do more harm than good.

It’s easy to understand and all, but when it gets right down to it, it’s advice that can be so hard to take. Why? Because you have things to do! People to see! People depending on you for stuff!

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Listen to your body.

Most people want to keep going and going and going. It’s hard to stop because if you stop you may not want to get back up.

And of course, you can do a lot. You’re able, strong, and happy to wear your different hats and you wear them very well. In order to be able to continue being the very best you can, it’s important to take care of yourself and listen to your body. It seems so simple.

Why is it so hard to do?

Because sometimes it requires you to stop and put your plans on hold even when you just don’t want to because people are used to you doing it all. Even when that means you won’t be that go-to person at work when you’re always the go-to person at work. Even when you have to miss a party, night out, celebration or something you know will be so much fun.

Yep. You can do it all, but sometimes something’s gotta give. Take the time to decide what can be put on hold and rest yourself before your body demands it and you can’t do anything about it. Without your body being on board, you’re not going to get very far doing anything.
Your body may be telling you to rest but it could also be telling you to move more or stretch, relax, exercise, eat more nutritious food, eat less sugar, etc.

You’re listening but not sure what it’s saying?

Here are a few ways to tune in to your body:

Have some quiet time. Sit comfortably with shoulders back so that you’re not hunched over. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Focus on your breath as you breathe in and breathe out. Even a few minutes of conscious breathing can help you refresh body and mind.

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Take a moment to breathe.

Disconnect. Turn off the TV, radio, phone, computer, etc. and be silent with your own thoughts to help you get more in tune with your body.

Go for a walk. The benefits of making exercise a part of your healthy lifestyle have been well-documented and walking is a great way to get moving. Even a stroll around your neighborhood can provide some quiet time, exercise, and help you clear your mind.

Stretch. In the morning, gently round out your back and shoulders so that your chin is at your chest, and then reversing the move so that your chest opens up. Gently and slowly turn your head to one side, then the other. For a side stretch, reach one hand up in the air, then switch sides. Try these stretches in the shower under warm water. Stretching is a good way to focus movement and flex and relax muscles throughout your body.

Listening to your body can be much easier said than done. I know. It’s an important part of taking good care of yourself so that you stay healthy, strong, and well-able to share your amazing-ness with the world.

Have you ever experienced a time when your body was trying to get your attention? Share your experience in the comments. I’d love to hear your story.