Healthy Ways to Indulge During the Holidays

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typical american thanksgiving meal arranged on a table

The holiday season is just around the corner, and with it comes quality family time, holiday movies, and of course – turkey, stuffing, yams, and pie.

Staying healthy during the holidays can be challenging, but it is possible. Prohibiting yourself from anything carb-full or sugary while your friends and family consume their body weights in mashed potatoes and homemade cookies is just not realistic. The key is to let go of your food guilt to healthily embrace the season. You, too, can enjoy the holiday – all it takes is practicing moderation and remembering a few important tips.

Don’t Skip Meals

Let’s say your office holiday party is tonight, so you don’t eat all day in order to be able to indulge on treats at the party. Sounds like a smart plan, right? Wrong. Consuming little or no calories will only make you hungrier, causing you to binge eat and consume far more calories than you would normally. Instead, eat healthy, protein and fiber-filled meals throughout the day. They can help keep you full and energized so that you can enjoy the party and treat yourself to some holiday foods without overdoing it. Remember, moderation is key.

Treat Yourself

Don’t just eat for the sake of eating. Think about what your favorite holiday foods are and treat yourself to them. If you love pumpkin pie, then eat pie. Don’t just eat a plate of cookies because there is no pie around. But remember, it’s the holidays, and it is okay to splurge on what you love, so do not feel guilty about that slice of pie. Feeling guilty about food can cause you to eat emotionally, which can actually drive you to overeat.

Take A Break

Have you ever eaten and eaten without feeling satisfied, and next thing you know you are so bloated and full that you can’t get up from the dinner table? Well, that’s because it takes about 20 minutes for your body to feel full. So, you might be full after one serving and not know it until you have had two more, and by then it is too late. When eating remember to slow down and give yourself a break from time to time. Allow your food some time to digest before you decide to go for seconds.

Put A Healthy Twist on It

The holidays are filled with countless dinners, parties, and other social obligations. The calories can quickly add up, even if you treat yourself to only one indulgence at every event. A way to stay healthy without missing out is by giving your favorite foods a healthy makeover. Luckily, we live in the era of websites like Pinterest, YouTube, and Tasty, which make finding healthy alternatives to holiday favorites super easy.

Get Some Sleep

Between traveling back home, gift shopping, and trying to master your great-grandma’s famous cranberry sauce recipe, it is easy to lose track of time. But no matter how busy you find yourself, it is important to make the time to get a good night’s sleep. Not sleeping enough can negatively affect your body in many ways by slowing down your metabolism, making it easier to gain weight.

Take A Lap

Going to the gym is probably the last thing on your mind, but just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean that you should throw all your fitness goals out the window. Try to sneak some exercise into your holiday season. When shopping, park a bit further away from the door. Trade escalators and elevators for the stairs. If you prefer online shopping, walk in place while you browse sites. Go on walks with your family, go ice skating with the kids, or sign the whole family up for a holiday fun-run like the Turkey Trot or the Jingle Bell Run.

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