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7 Tips To Surviving The Holidays

It is already that time of year, that time when we need to begin strategizing on how we are going to get through the holiday season on track with our own personal health and fitness goals not falling by the wayside. It starts with Halloween. If you have kids, I am willing to bet your house is full of candy. Just 1 tip for solving that problem, throw it out –today! I prefer to not gift it away to someone else since that is just going to sabotage their efforts to eat clean.

For the next 2 months I have several go-to on track tips that I personally utilize to keep me in check during this time of year. I hope that you find just 1 of these 7 helpful for you.

1. Have a non-food related reward picked out for yourself when you are successful staying on track through January 1, 2014. Pick it out now and keep it in sight. Examples of this might include: a mini vacation including an overnight stay at your favorite hotel, tickets to a concert, or a new workout outfit (head to toe). Select a reward that is significant enough that it will make a difference in your life. Every time you forgo a treat just think of the treat that you will get come January.

2. Bring your own. This suggestion is two-fold. First, bring a guilt-free dish to a party or gathering that you know that you will enjoy and that others will as well. This will ensure that there is a healthy option for you to turn to. The second part of this is something that I do regularly when either at a party or out to eat. Bring a few pieces of dark chocolate with you, and have that available as a sweet treat option post meal rather than giving into that dark chocolate sin cake that is being passed around. It is surprising how our chocolate craving can be satisfied with just 1oz of dark chocolate.

3. Watch your drinks. This is referring to alcoholic beverages. Besides the risks of drinking and driving, consuming alcohol is shown to lower your inhibitions and deplete your will power when it comes to eating. Studies have shown that you are likely to consume 30% more calories from food in addition to the extra calories that you are taking in from the alcohol itself. Although you are consuming calories when you drink your body does not recognize the calorie content of alcohol therefore leaving you hungry.  Worse then that, a study done at Purdue University found that even moderate consumption of alcohol enhances the taste of salt and fat. Coupled with our lowered inhibitions and lack of will power – you need to watch out!  What I recommend is to make sure that for every alcoholic beverage you have, consume two 8oz glasses of water. Also, if you are going to drink, have your meal first. Avoid drinking and eating.

4. Avoid the ‘last meal’ & ‘I deserve it’ mentalities. What this means is, there can be a tendency to see some delicious naughty foods and think that you have to indulge because you have never had that particular kind of pie or your neighbor only makes this signature dish once a year. Chances are the pie wont live up to the expectations and your neighbor will likely bring that dish to the next party. Staying on track will feel so much better than breaking your promise to yourself just for that in the moment satisfaction of the new treat.

The second, ‘I deserve it’ mentality can be such a trap. Around the holidays we are all stressed. Chances are you have been working overtime to get ready for time off, relatives are in town, kids are on break and you are fried. You may have even had to forgo a few workouts. Try to avoid looking at food as a reward and be on the lookout for that little voice inside your head that will whisper that ‘you earned it’. This is a dangerous trap and habit cycle to get into. This is also the reason I suggest to have a non-food related reward picked out. You don’t deserve that cheesy casserole (though you an certainly have a serving if you want to), what you deserve is to feel awesome, to be happy with your decisions and not regret them later.

5. Journal your food and weigh in weekly. Numbers don’t lie and pen on paper doesn’t lie. I very much recommend starting or continuing your food journal even during times of the year when you are celebrating more and less in control of what is on your plate.  This may even be a more important time to be vigilant. I suggest weekly (not daily) weigh-ins to keep yourself in check as well. This is the system that I use for myself, food journal daily and weekly weigh-ins. The worst feeling is knowing you undid months and months of hard work in a 4-6 week holiday/relax mode period. Believe me, I know because this is what I did last year right after my wedding which fell right before Christmas last year. I have made a commitment this year to tighten everything up and not make the same mistake twice.

6. Stay on the move at parties. A good way to stay away from the buffet at a holiday party is to position yourself physically away from it. Play with the kids that are there, help the host with the dishes, start a game outside. If there is dancing even better – shake it out! Movement will help you forget about that second helping you were considering.

7.  Arrive at the party or dinner partially satiated. Prepare a small healthy meal or snack at home before leaving.  It may seem silly to do this before you leave for a dinner or a party where food will be served, but if your dinner reservation is for 7pm and you have a small snack at 6pm, chances are you will not being eating until around 8pm anyway.  This will allow you to thoughtfully choose a healthy dish that will leave you satisfied and not have a knee-jerk reaction to choose the most delicious thing on the menu because you are starving.  At a party, if you ate a bit before you came you are able to fill a small plate to be polite but not have to stock up on everything that you see.

I hope at least one of these speaks to you and is something that you can simply integrate into your routine this year. Above all else enter into this holiday season and into every party, dinner, or event with the mindset of commitment. Commitment to yourself because you do deserve what you have worked so hard for.

If you have any questions or need ideas or help with a particular situation and want to bounce ideas around on how to set yourself up for success please feel free to email me at

In Balance & Strength,

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