It’s almost on us — the most treacherous time of the year for those of us working to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s THE HOLIDAYS! What makes you blow your plan? Stress? Temptation? Busyness? The next six weeks are permeated with those very things.
The average American gains about two pounds a year. Half of that weight accumulates during the last few weeks of the year. For those who have been sticking with a moderate, low glycemic eating plan the damage can be worse. Your autopilot gets the idea that the famine is finally over. Time to stock up on fat supplies for the coming year! Dropping off the plan until the new year can quickly add back the pounds you shed with such difficulty.
So, how do you avoid holiday weight gain? You can do it if you plan ahead.
If you are headed to a family get-together, make sure you take along some tasty and healthy that you can eat. You can offer to make the cranberry sauce or sweet potatoes and sweeten them with a sugar alternative. Celery sticks stuffed with cream cheese or nut butter, deviled eggs, olives — all are low glycemic and will help your plan as long as you don’t eat them in a crazy way. And, of course, you can eat the turkey.
Before you go to a party — eat. Make sure you don’t arrive starved and in a state of weakness. Prepare a healthy low glycemic treat to eat at home after the party is over so you don’t feel deprived. Knowing I have something to look forward to at home has helped me over many temptations!
Try for a low stress season. Don’t over plan activities, but schedule some relaxing down time for yourself. Put it on your calendar so when other demands on your time come up you can truthfully say, “I’m sorry, but I have something already scheduled for that day.” No need to explain that it is looking at Christmas lights with your spouse or staying in to watch a movie with your feet up.
Donate instead of shop. We spend so much time hunting for gifts and tend to overspend when we finally find the perfect one. Why not donate to a good cause in the name of your gift recipient? Most of us don’t need more stuff and would be happy to see a donation made to a cause that is close to our hearts. Just make sure that your donation goes to a group that he or she cares about and agrees with. (I don’t want a donation made in my name to Planned Parenthood — thanks anyway!) Don’t know of a good cause? Hmm. I’ll have to clue you in on some of my personal favorites tomorrow.
Take a good look at what you have coming up and do some creative planning. How can you work in some extra exercise? What recipes can you use in place of the fattening traditional ones? Do you REALLY have to do the stressful things on your list? Are you actually obligated to go to all those parties?
Make it your goal to make this holiday season be about family and faith instead of food and stuff. I think you’ll find it the merriest you’ve ever had!
Eating to live and living for Christ,
Susan Jordan Brown