The holidays are upon us and with them come parties, stress and opportunity to eat excess amounts of food.
With a few tricks, this holiday season will increase only your joy – not your waistline!
Stay hydrated. This is so basic that is often overlooked. What many of us don’t realize is that dehydration can be masked as hunger – so we eat instead of drink. Being dehydrated also decreases our mental objectivity, which can increase stress and contribute to poor food choices.Get some sleep. When we aren’t well-rested, our physiology is disturbed, resulting in imbalanced blood sugar. If we’re tired, we look to stimulants like sugar or caffeine to perk us up. Many of us don’t connect sleep to food consumption, so notice the correlation in your own life.Look for recipe upgrades to your old favorites. There’s no need to skip on your traditional favorites, but you can certainly upgrade to find healthier, whole food-based ingredients.I will often just search for “paleo” or “vegan” and whatever it is I’m looking for comes back with delicious and amazing recipe options that I feel good about eating.
Be sure to move daily, Even 10 to 15 minutes of swift walking twice a day can be helpful – not just for your waistline, but for your mood, stress management, blood sugar and immune system.Practice mindful eating, even at parties. Chew your food well and enjoy the smell, taste and texture of each item. Research shows that “mealtime multitasking” (where you’re not paying attention to the act of eating) can make you pop mindless calories into your mouth. Set food down until you’re finished chatting, so you’re more aware of what you’re taking in. Stand more than an arm’s length away from the snacks.
Don’t shop hungry. When we’re stressed, we look for high-density caloric foods. Not only do we buy junkier foods, but we blow our food budget. Have a snack, make a list and then shop. Eat before you go to a party. This way, you won’t feel tempted to gorge on the buffet or high-calorie appetizers. To maintain balanced blood sugar, don’t skip meals if you think you’re going to overeat, but eat less at other meals. Serve yourself less than you think you want and then get seconds if you’re still hungry. Don’t take on new diets or regimens.During the holidays, try to maintain weight or current health goals. Set a New Year’s goal now and keep it in your mind throughout the month to help keep you on track.
Beware of drinking your calories. Non-alcoholic drinks can be filled with calories and sugar. Alcoholic beverages are, too, and lower inhibitions about overeating.Choose other activities besides eating. When you gather with family and friends, include crafts, games and getting outside.With these ideas, you’ll cruise through the holiday season enjoying and tasting it all – without the downside. May your season be filled with ease, light and nutritious foods.
Nicola Dehlinger is a naturopathic doctor at Pura Vida Natural Healthcare in Durango. She can be reached at 426-1684 or www.puravidahealthcare.com.