We all want to enjoy the delicious food and drinks of the festive season, but of course no one wants to completely blow their diet. That’s why I want to talk about how to not ruin your diet during Christmas.
Let’s face it – a lot of us decide to introduce healthy habits or „go on a diet” AFTER the Christmas/Holiday period is over.
It is common to think that months of November and December are, in many cultures and for various reasons, the hardest when it comes to sticking to healthy choices and healthy diet.
And you have to admit, there is something about it!
Days spent with family and closest friends, full of delicious food, traditional dishes that just the thought of makes your mouth water, desserts still are made by following your grandma’s recipes, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes…
The list could go on forever!
This time of year is extremely tempting and can be difficult for those trying to lose weight.
On top of that, for the majority of the world, those months are time of cold, winter days, which means one thing: lots of snacking, lots of comfort food, hot chocolate each snuggly evening spent at home.
Let’s be honest, not many people think about working out when it is freezing outside, you’ve just finished a long day of work, and your couch is way too comfortable to move.
Here, in New Zealand where I live, the Summer starts in the beginning of December and you can only imagine all the socializing, constant going out and little drinks that add up to crazy amount of empty, unhealthy calories!
You may ask yourself
„is it POSSIBLE to be on a diet during Christmas?”
„How to NOT ruin your diet/efforts during Christmas period?”
„How to stop the cravings during Hoiday season?”
So if you are a person who’s on a diet and…
- You fear failure because Holiday season is around
- Unable to control your cravings
- You want to quit because you think there is no other way around the Holiday and Christmas season…
Healthy eating doesn’t mean you have to give up your holiday favorites — all they need are a few modifications.
1.Bring a healthy meal
Of course, it is hard to control what is gonna end up on a Christmas table while spending this time with your friends, famiy or even colleagues.
The variety of foods can be incredibly tempting for a person struggling with their weight or diet – there are many. Dishes made by others who, quite possibly – aren’t so focused on their healthy habits at the moment – can be high in fats, carbs and calories.
Bringing at least one healthy meal can make a huge difference and help you make better choices. You don’t have to look at others stuffing their faces with delicious food – just make sure there is something healthier that you can turn to, too!
Yep, that also includes desserts!
2. Limit your liquid calorie intake
Although you don’t have to limit yourself constantly during that time, it is important to remember that this type of calorie intake is one of the most tricky ones!
During Christmas we tend to turn to soda, alcohol, overly-sweet drinks and juices.
Not to mention a glass of delicious eggnog here and there!
Those calories are still calories – empty, and filled with sugar. A can of coke equals to 39 grams of sugar! Now, to understand how much it actually is – a tablespoon equals to 4 grams!
Yep – one can of coke means almost 10 teaspoons of sugar. A glass of orange juice – 5 teaspoons (21 grams).
Make sure to drink plenty of water and try to control your sweet drinks intake wisely.
3. Modify your recipes
Holiday/Christmas meals tend to be overfiilled with unhealthy fats, sugars, and carbs – and often they’re heavily processed, too, which usually leads to common weight gain during that time!
It is obviously not the best option while being on a diet and trying to lose weight – that’s exactly everything that we try to get under control to introduce healthy habits.
Now, there are few tricks that can help you modify your meals and recipes to reduce sugar, carbs and unhealthy fats intake in few simple steps.
Think about your favorite Holiday meals.
Now, try to think about parts of certain dishes that are unhealthy, not appropriate for certain rules you try to follow to lose weight.
Focus on what you can change about them to make them less unhealthy and more healthy diet-friendly.
4. Watch your portion sizes.
One of the best things about the Holiday season is the variety of delicious food. Mouth-watering, rich in flavor dishes that we all adore, smells that make you want to taste and try everything.
Therefore, it is incredibly easy to overload your plate and end up with this horrible, heavy feeling of crossing the line of overeating afterwards.
Studies show that people who eat big portions of food instead of smaller portions gain weight more easily.
A perfect trick that I am a big fan of is simply using smaller plates – it is proven that
5. Stay active.
Being on diet during Holiday season is not all about limiting yourself!
It is also very important to remember about helping your body digest and burn calories by staying active (not just during that time, but always – of course!).
It is extremely easy to stay at home, visit your family members or friends and spend hours on nothing but celebrating, eating, drinking and being relatively a little lazier and less active than usual.
To not ruin your efforts, don’t let yourself stay too stagnant – take your friends or family for a long walk after a meal, come up with fun activities or games that will keep you moving, keep you entertained and will get you and your family members closer.
That’s a win-win!
Studies show that we tend to eat more while we are bored – don’t let your mind fall into mindless eating and snacking!
Keep it active and enjoy this special time of the year in a clever way for your body and mind.
6. Use smaller plates.
This is an old, well-known trick that people often forget about!
There is science behind dieting and losing or gaining weight – but let’s not forget that there is also science and facts standing strong behind the way we eat.
We can trick our minds and bodies, manipulate it into making healthy choices and helping ourselves to keep our willpower strong.
Studies shown that people consume larger portions while using bigger plates – therefore, using a smaller plate while trying to lose weight will make you eat less and reduce your portions naturally.
7. Try to avoid „seconds”.
One of the biggest and most dangerous traps during Christmas and Holiday season are buffet-style dinners and potluck parties with family and friends.
Not having one specific meal dished out and served leads us to try little bits of everything here and there.
Speaking from my own experience, I always used to try to taste a little bit of everything. I
t comes from one of the biggest Christmas traditions in the country I come from – I was told when I was a child that you should try everything during the Christmas dinner.
Of course, we tend to love certain dishes more, which leads us to get a second portion of our favorites. Sometimes even a third!
People often don’t realize it doubles or triples the calorie-intake of meals we eat.
Try to avoid going for several portions of your portions in a short span of time – mix it up, try things you like, but try to avoid the seconds.
For more holiday season motivation, you might enjoy my article on
How To Keep Motivated To Lose Weight
If you’re truly ready to lose some weight, change your lifestyle and learn how to manage your weight long term, the 21-Day Weight Loss Plan & Wellness Guide will teach you just that…and loads more!