Some people dread the holidays, simply because they are afraid of the “inevitable” weight gain. We get confronted with ice-cream, puddings, and other sweets being shoved in our faces. If that’s not bad enough, we’re either too lazy to prepare food and just get burgers and pizza, or we cook way too much food and stuff ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be that bad. Here are some healthy eating rules for the holiday season:
Rule no. 1: Stop making rules
Rules are meant to be broken, right? The harder you try to stick to a rule, the worse you feel when you “cheat”. Nobody likes to be restricted, and you will probably just feel trapped if you try to restrict yourself. Take some time and really think about why you want to eat healthier. And once you truly believe that it is the best thing you can do for yourself, you won’t feel like you’re being restricted. Love yourself enough to know what is best for you.
It all comes down to portion control
When eating something makes you feel anxious, you’re doing it wrong. Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar isn’t inherently evil. The problem of weight gain lies in excess calories. Whether you’re getting in excess calories from fat, sugar, fruit, meat, or salad, excess calories lead to weight gain. If you don’t have a disease that requires you to follow a specific diet, the best way to keep your weight in check is to just control your portions.
Of course, it is better for you to eat fresh vegetables and good fats like avocado because sugar has no nutritional value. But the occasional dessert won’t kill you. Just include it when you count your maximum total daily calorie intake.
Limiting fat and sugar reduces total calories
The main reason for cutting down on fat and sugar is because it will instantly reduce your total calorie consumption. If you don’t consume more calories than you burn, you won’t gain weight. Weight-loss diets work on the basic principle of introducing a calorie deficit. It’s important to eat the right amount of calories each day – too much will lead to weight gain, and too little will lead to unhealthy weight loss. Speak to a registered dietician to determine the exact amount of calories your body requires to function.
Extra tip: Don’t skip your workout (entirely)
It’s difficult to stick to your usual workout routine during the holidays, especially if you’re not at home and near your gym. But you don’t have to skip your workout entirely. There are lots of ways you can still get in some regular exercise during the holidays. We gave some holiday fitness tips in our previous article; read it here.
Healthy eating rules for the holiday season
The easiest thing to do is just to consider each thing you put in your mouth. Is this ice-cream really necessary right now? Should I really go for seconds? Is Brandy-and-Coke really the best thing to have five glasses of?
Try opting for healthier options when making food choices. Try red wine, or whiskey with soda water instead of sweet cocktails. Buy the whole-wheat buns instead of white buns. Choose lean steak over boerewors. Don’t snack excessively and opt for healthy snacks. Eat from a smaller plate so you can fit less food on it. Don’t skip meals – plan your day. Be a boss at saying “no”. And really don’t go for seconds.
Cutting down on sugar will definitely help with reducing your daily calories. As will eating smaller portions and fresh veggies. All we’re saying is that you don’t have to feel guilty about the occasional ice-cream, pizza, or massive Christmas lunch. Just don’t overdo it.
Please note: If you have severe difficulty losing weight or an abnormal obsession with eating, you might have an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed by a doctor or psychologist.