Halloween's been and gone and so is all the candy that you told yourself you definitely weren't going to eat! With Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday season looming, weight gain is a frightening concern with serious potential. But let's not give up hope & resign ourselves to clichéd New Year's resolutions of "getting in shape". Staying on top of your health & fitness is not a 3 month quick-fix task - sorry if this is coming as a shock to you! The good news is that there are some very simple habits you can implement that if you begin to practice daily, will help you achieve the results you want, with long-term success.
1. Get an accountability buddy
Make a pact with a friend or your partner to keep each other in check over the long weekend. Of course you may plan to indulge a little on Thanksgiving Day itself, but that doesn't mean things should spiral out of control into a 4-day long binge. Having a solid support network is fundamental when it comes to holding yourself accountable. A great tool you can use in conjunction is a food diary app like My Fitness Pal. Logging your food really helps focus your mind to what exactly you're putting in your mouth!
2. Be active
Grab your accountability buddy and go for a long hike or a bike ride! All those endorphins will make you feel energized. Exercise also helps satisfy hunger & reduce cravings as your body naturally wants to replenish its nutrient stores with healthy and nutritious foods. Check for any events happening in your area like a Thanksgiving Day 5k race.
3. Keep candy out of sight
Having candy in dishes or bowls scattered around the house is a disaster! Studies have shown that visibility & proximity of food causes an increase in unconscious consumption of food. In the Office Candy Dish study, results showed that when the dish was more visible people ate on average 2.5 more candies a day. When the dish was more proximate but not visible people ate 1.5 more candies a day and 4.6 more when the candy dish was visible and proximate. In the latter case, results also showed that people underestimated the number of candies they ate. Another good reason to be keeping track of your treats with the help of an app! If you must buy chocolates and candy keep them somewhere out of sight or hold off buying them until the day before your family get together.
4. Be Creative
Finding healthy alternatives to your favorite comfort foods is a piece of cake these days. Just insert the words "paleo" or "clean" before mac n' cheese & you'll find all sorts of options from grain free to vegan! Why not organize a cooking challenge amongst the whole family. See who can bring the tastiest & most Thanksgiving themed dish to the table. When your food is visually attractive it is so much more appealing to eat and the kids will love getting involved in this one too!
You can easily minimize additional fat and starchy carbohydrates by choosing lean meats and serving vegetables like this breadless cauliflower and mushroom stuffing. For dessert try this delicious vegan no bake Pumpkin Pie from the Minimalist Baker.
5. Plan Ahead
Like any holiday or special occasion, overindulging is somewhat of an inevitability. Starving yourself the week before and fantasizing about ALL the delicious food you're going to eat is a sure way of that happening. Don't worry, we've all been there! Instead of going crazy & waking up out of your food coma surrounded by candy wrappers, plan ahead and factor in the treats you really want in advance. Planning your treats in advance & seeing where they fit into your day is a great way of controlling your calories and keeping yourself in check without deprivation. You can apply this to your every day and make eating out socially a breeze. Just look up the menu of the restaurant you're going to the day before so you can factor in the dessert you know you won't be able to resist!
Roz is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer. You can find out more about her by visiting her site www.confessionsofasuperfoodie.com