Welcome to December! The month filled with eggnog, mouthwatering sweets, cookies, pies, endless holiday buffets, and tray-passed hors-d'oeuvres. And that’s just the company holiday party! It sounds fantastic, right? Unfortunately, the joyful sentiments are not felt by everyone. For some, the idea of navigating through endless food-focused gatherings brings up major anxieties that can override the enjoyment of the holiday season.
How to bring the joy back, you ask? PH360 Founder, Trainer and Fitness Expert, Reinier Geyser (RG) offers this advice:
“Enjoy the seasonal fare, stay committed to your workout schedule and hydrate. But most Important, DO NOT COUNT CALORIES!” RG
Here, Reinier highlights holiday events and tips for survival:
THE COCKTAIL PARTY
The biggest mistake: "saving up" for the holiday cocktail party. Eat regularly during the day. That way, you are less likely to overeat due to arriving at the party in starvation mode. During the day, prepare for the party by eating a big salad that includes generous portions of healthy protein.
TIP: Appetizers, sweets and alcoholic drinks are filled with processed carbs and fats, so be sure to fill up on healthy protein during the day.
Mindful eating: Alcohol lowers inhibitions and affects your judgment, which leads to eating everything within arm’s reach. Therefore, be sure to alternate alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks, like sparkling water or mixers like club soda, tonic or ginger ale.
THE HOLIDAY BUFFET
“Unlike the cocktail party, the buffet is the right time to show up hungry.” RG
But before you sprint towards the buffet, stand back and look at the entire spread. Choose what you REALLY want based on mindful-eating satisfaction and focus less on the calorie count. Don’t think about what is best to eat, but instead, what looks best to you.
Enjoy it and eat slowly to give your body a chance to communicate when it is satisfied. Most Important: don’t feel the need to finish your plate. Your meal should bring you pleasure, not guilt or anxiety.
THE FAMILY DINNER
"Family, the only social group that pressures us to overeat." RG
Family gatherings are traditionally filled with stress and pressure that catapults you back to adolescences. Simply put, expectations are high, and guilt runs through the roof. Your goal: Set polite boundaries on every level, most important on the food level. Example:
“Thank you. It looks and smells amazing, but I’m not hungry. Maybe later?” Simply and kindly say it without creating food fights.
Another way to avoid food fights is to offer to help with meal prep (cut up fresh fruit, veggies or prepare the salad).
TIP: Remain calm and slow down when you’re eating to ensure that you don’t overeat. And, DON’T OVERDRINK.
AND IN THE END, IT’S WINTER:
Two or three pounds, and sometimes more, winter is the time of year when we all put on a little weight. Why? Because we eat more and move less.
Don’t try to beat the scale with crazy diets and fads. Most people lose the additional pounds within six to eight weeks after the holiday season.
In closing: Overall, good health and fitness should be the primary goal throughout the year. Even with the additional challenges and temptations associated with the holiday season, be sure to exercise, preparing your meals (as much as possible), and drink more water. And finally…
Don’t forget to move
Take the stairs instead of the elevator
Take a walk instead of driving to the grocery store or other errands
Park further away, and
Re-up your Power Hour 360 Membership.
Sources: apa.org, healthline.com, cnn.com, mayoclinic.org.