The holidays are a great time to spend time with family and a big table full of food. We heap our plates as high as they'll go over and over again until the food coma hits. Holiday calories don't count right? With multiple family parties, friendsgivings, and work celebrations, those meals we imagine to be "free" can really add up to a January where pants no longer button.
Here are 6 tips to help you enjoy the season and avoid the regrets:
1.) Eat more slowly and consciously. Someone (maybe you) spent a lot of time and energy making this meal. Enjoy each bite rather than shoveling it all in at once. Set your fork down between bites. Enjoy the football games and company. Try counting, at least to three, if you still can't slow down.
2.) Try using a smaller plate. Most of the time we take more than we need. Putting less on a large plate, especially during the holidays, can make us feel deprived and result in running back for seconds whether we need them or not. Using a smaller plate makes it seem like we have more than we do so it isn't as tempting to overload. This can also help avoid rushing through. You may find in the end that you ate the perfect amount.
3.) Choose wisely. Everyone knows during the holidays that all of the great smelling baked goods are coming out at the end. Try to choose whole foods as much as possible during the main course. When the dessert course finally arrives, reward yourself with one selection. You can also take partial portions to add up to one. If you are following Step 1, you may find that you are more satisfied (and less sick) having a taste of each rather than cramming them all in as if you will never have pie again.
4.) Go for a walk after your meal. Physical activity helps with digestion and can be relaxing in the long run. This could be a good time to get to know a relative or friend better, let kids burn off energy, and get a little fresh air.
5.) Rest. This is the time to re-charge and connect with family. It is ok to acknowledge though that the experience may at times be stressful. Find a nice quiet spot (probably not while everyone else is doing the dishes) to do some light reading and take your mind off the everyday stressors.
6.) Think ahead and write your plan. Once you've rested and cleared your head, take some time out to set goals for yourself. What do you want to accomplish in the next couple of months (short term)? Next year (long term)? Write these down on paper. While writing we are less able to multi-task and must focus more clearly on the experience, to actually process the information. Taking the time to clearly establish and understand your purpose is the first step to successfully reaching your goals.