An affiliate of Hera Women's Health

Stay Healthy During the Holidays

With holiday parties, family gatherings, and endless buffets of sweets just a couple of weeks away, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain healthy eating habits and avoid gaining weight. Whether or not you plan to try everything at the table, there are steps you can take to keep up fitness and coast into the New Year without a worry.

  1. It is tempting to go all-in for desserts during the holidays, especially if you adhere to a strict diet for the rest of the year. However, there is a middle ground between eating everything in your zip code and swearing off food until February. Browse the buffet table before you begin your meal so that you are familiar with your options. Then, during the main course or any lighter snacks you may be having, think about which foods you actually want to taste. This both allows your more aggressive urges from hunger to wear off and prevents you from eating out of convenience (grabbing whatever happens to be in reach).
  2. If you find that you really do want every single item at the party, you are not beyond help. Instead of loading up on the largest dinner plate you can find, visit the dessert table in moderation. Almost every host provides smaller plates or containers for desserts and, as you may have guessed, these plates are smaller for a reason. Take a piece of whatever stands out to you—something you can’t afford to miss out on—but take your food back to your seat, sit down, and enjoy each item separately.
  3. Additionally, do not finish everything on your plate; there is no shame in leaving that last bite of brownie for the trash. By taking two or three bites of each dessert you select, you will be able to try a wider variety of treats and pace yourself.
  4. Try to get some exercise in before you head out for the day. Morning work-outs prepare your body and ensure that you won’t neglect your usual routine. Even if you do a lighter work out than you normally would, this will help warm up your body for more movement throughout the day and decrease your cravings for heavier, fattening foods. Movement is key, so don’t hesitate to stand up and move around for a few minutes every hour. This will keep you out of the couch potato mentality and possibly start new habits that you can continue well after the holiday season.

No matter what you plan on doing over the holidays, never feel that there is nothing you can do to stay fit. Most importantly, unless you have not eaten in quite some time, remember that the hunger you feel is mostly psychological and will pass if given enough time. Don’t get caught up in a mad dash for the dessert table. Take the time to enjoy yourself and the company of friends and family, and the food will (probably) still be there waiting for you after you have settled down.

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