Autumn means cool weather, vibrant colors, apple and pumpkin picking and hot apple cider. The changing of the leaves signifies the start of the holiday season beginning with Halloween and ending with New Year's Eve. It's a time for family, friends and celebration, but it can also lead to unwanted pounds. Whether it's the Thanksgiving feast, Christmas cookies or Hanukkah treats, you probably associate each holiday with a favorite food or dessert.
Is it challenging for you to forgo the candy isle at the grocery store that is stocked with holiday goodies? Or, do you have difficulty controlling your intake of pies, cookies, or sweets?
But all foods can fit into a healthy, balanced meal plan. However, in order to do this, you must become food savvy and learn how to enjoy the holidays while not adding to your waistlines and also not feeling deprived of your favorite seasonal foods. Balance and moderation are extremely important.
Knowing how to balance higher-calorie, lower nutrient-rich foods with more nutritious foods and learning to control your portions this holiday season is key to weight maintenance. Here are a few holiday eating tips to help you avoid putting on extra pounds during the holiday season:
1. Be mindful of yourself and your emotions. The holidays can be a busy, overwhelming and stressful time. Take care of yourself this holiday season by eating healthy, exercising or moving more, and taking time for yourself--listen to your body and how you're feeling.
2. Plan time to relax during the busy holiday season. You'll feel better, have more energy and be less tempted to eat from emotions. What relaxes you? Is it a bath, reading a good book, talking to a friend, having a massage, taking a walk, working out or listening to music?
3. Be aware of the difference between hunger and fatigue. If at all possible, take a nap if you're tired or make the extra effort to get to bed earlier at least a few nights each week. If you're lacking energy, get up and move during the day by taking a short walk, getting some fresh air, or drinking water--many individuals are actually tired because they haven't drunk enough throughout the day or haven't been physically active. Sitting for long periods of time will make anyone tired.
4. Know the difference between hunger and emotional cravings for food. Do you tend to eat when you are lonely, angry, stressed or sad? If so, try making a list of activities that will help you deal with these emotions or find solutions for the "triggers" that caused them. For instance, if you know that shopping at the mall "stresses you out" do most of your holiday shopping online or visit smaller shopping centers. If you find yourself eating because you are lonely, invite a friend over for dinner or call someone to ease your loneliness rather than turning to food.