Holiday Eating - Staying On Track! The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends, which usually consists of holiday parties, family get-togethers and throwing your diet right out the door. We all have good intentions of eating healthy and staying in shape, but it’s easy to get caught up and lose sight of your goals by binging and skipping those much needed workouts. The key is learning how to maintain control and making the choice to stay healthy while still enjoying the festivities. Keep in mind that only YOU can make that choice! Here are some ways to help you enjoy the holiday season while staying fit and not over-eating: 1. Start the holiday season off by downloading a diet tracker app to your phone. I love the MyFitnessPal app. It’s super easy to use and will help monitoring your daily intake which will not only keep you accountable throughout the holiday season but will also help motivate you. Some other app options for consideration include Lose It, or GymBuddy, and iFitness in the iTunes store. It takes one click to download these free apps and become accountable! Here is a list of the top ten for you to review. 2. Pick out your New Year’s outfit early. Go buy yourself an incredibly sexy dress/suit in your “skinny size” for New Years Eve. Remove all of the tags and throw them away so you have no choice but stay on track if you want to squeeze into this beauty. This will enable you to feel good on this memorable evening and well into the New Year! 3. Bring healthy snacks to work with you. You should already know that when you get to the office there is going to be a box of those irresistible Cheryl and Co. cookies waiting for you from one of your thoughtful clients. Knowing that they are loaded with sugar and carbohydrates which will add extra fat to your waist line, you’ve brought some walnuts, almonds, sliced cucumbers and carrots that are healthy alternatives to the temptations in your environment. If you can’t resist the goodies and find yourself in a very weak moment, bring just a few dark chocolates individually wrapped and eat sparingly when temptations arise! 4. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a fresh cup of Joe. Coffee can help not only help improve energy levels and burn fat but it can also help satisfy cravings for something sweet. I pick up an Iced Venti Americano with Stevia every morning from Starbucks and it usually lasts me throughout my entire day. Opt for a simple coffee choice, no frappuccino’s or fattening lattes which can defeat your mission very quickly. Good rule of thumb- if it sounds too fancy or festive, it most likely is loaded with extra holiday calories that you will want to avoid! 5. Never underestimate the power of water. Water hydrates you, helps your skin stay clear, detoxifies, and helps you feel full. When your body is thirsty, it will trigger false hunger signals because food contains a significant amount of water. I keep a gallon jug with me at all times so not only do I have it readily available but I can also keep track of my daily consumption. If you get bored of drinking water all day you can switch it up by adding fresh lemons, cucumbers and a natural sweetener to your glass. 6. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night. Studies show that when we are sleep-deprived, the stress hormone cortisol is released at an increased level, which makes us feel hungry, even if we are full. In order to avoid this, let your body heal itself and go to bed early. In addition to getting the proper amount of sleep each night, I also take a cortisol complex to help maintain healthy cortisol levels. Your body is the one thing that stays with you forever; be sure to treat it right and rest is a vital component! 7. Work out before heading to your family get-together or holiday party. It’s tempting to skip your workout on days that you have to prepare food and get glammed up for a party, but you still need to stay active. By working out before you head off to a party or gathering, you will be more motivated to make healthier choices because you won’t want to ruin that killer workout you just had by putting something bad into your body. 8. Don’t skip meals before a big holiday party. Most people think that by starving themselves before a big holiday party they’ll be able to binge more with less consequences. You’re actually hurting yourself more by starving yourself because it will only make you more hungry and more likely to overeat. A word to the wise is to continue to consume all of your normal meals for the day. This will keep you from over eating at the party. In addition, make an effort to eat healthy protein-packed snacks before walking in so that you can stay fuller for longer and not be as tempted to eat the whole buffet! If you know that you aren’t going to be able to resist Grandma’s pumpkin pie and Uncle Dan’s famous Cookies, then adjust your week so that the day of the gathering is your leg day/cheat meal and take out the carbs from one or two of your meals for that day. Just make sure you add in a HIIT cardio session the next day to help fend off those extra calories! 9. Choose your foods wisely at the party. Choose a smaller plate and fill it up with fresh fruit, fresh raw vegetables (without the dips) and white meat first. Load up on the healthy stuff first and then have a few mini BBQ smoked sausages or a piece of pumpkin pie. Make sure you are eating slowly and be mindful of portion control. It takes 20 minutes for your digestive system to register that it’s full. STOP eating when you’re full... this will save you many unwanted extra calories! 10. Bring your gym buddy with you to the party! Make an effort to bring one of your gym buddies with you to the party so that you can help keep each other accountable, while enjoying each other’s company! Not only will you not want your gym buddy see you break down and indulge on those Christmas cookies, but you both can talk each other out of overindulging. Having someone with similar goals with you will keep you on track! 11. Keep your hands and mind busy. Leave the large handbag at home and bring a small handheld clutch instead. While at a party, carry your clutch in one hand and a warm cup of coffee or tea to sip on in the other. This will keep your hands occupied and prevent you from picking up snacks or high caloric beverages. Walk around and talk to people. Concentrate on socializing, not on attempting to sample each and every hors d'oeuvre on the table. 12. Choose your beverage wisely. If at all possible, try to stay away from alcoholic drinks. They can add as many (if not more) inches to your waistline as Mom’s legendary red velvet cake or Jennifer’s macaroni casserole. If you must indulge in a spirit, try a vodka and soda, a gin and Diet Tonic or a Gimlet. Be sure to ask for only fresh lime juice to avoid any mixers with added simple sugar! Between drinks, have a warm beverage like green tea with a lemon which helps you burn fat, fight off free radicals, and also controls food craving due to lemon’s pectin fiber. 13. Put your chef’s hat on. Take initiative and whip up some delicious healthy recipes and bring your own side dishes to the party. Instead of the usual sweet potato casserole, trying dicing up the sweet potatoes and roasting them in the oven with cinnamon, pumpkin spice and olive oil. This is a delicious alternative to those mysterious casserole dishes that are sure to contain extra fats and sugar! Mix together a homemade salsa with baked whole-grain chips or whip up some pumpkin spice protein cupcakes. The options are endless and allow you to tap into your creative side! 14. Most importantly, remember one thing… A holiday is just a DAY. Don’t spend your holidays making up for all the binge eating you’ve missed out on the rest of the year; have a few small cheats. Avoid the snowball effect by getting back on track tomorrow. Don’t let one slipup slide into a relapse of continual overeating – that’s when you really pack on the pounds. Be mindfully connected to your body and decide if your appetite is emotionally driven, socially related or realistic hunger. Make this year different from the rest. Take control of your diet for the holidays and start of the New Year strong! Happy Holidays!