healthy holidays

During the holidays, advice about coping with the mountains of food available to us abounds. The most common advice about eating includes tips designed to help you eat less, but really just take away from the joy of the holiday season. So, I’m not going to tell you to have a snack before you go to a big party or to make your holiday dishes lighter and healthier.  The holidays should be merry and bright, so enjoy all that the holidays have to offer with these suggestions in mind.

Eat whatever you want…in moderation. Pay attention to how you feel and stop eating once you are full.  Mindful eating is almost a lost art in this country and it is a valuable skill for maintaining a healthy weight.  To master mindful eating try these tricks: 1) get a smaller plate.  Alex Bogusky and Chuck Porter, authors of the book “The 9-Inch ‘Diet’: Exposing the Big Conspiracy in America” say that switching to a smaller plate can decrease our caloric intake by 30 to 35 percent! 2) Savor your food.  Take the time to really taste, smell and look at your food.  You’ll find that you’ll be satisfied with less.  3)Chew your food at least 20 times before you swallow.  This technique will help you taste your food while slowing down your consumption and allowing the brain to send you a “full” message. 4) Set your fork down between bites.  Truly enjoy every bite by not ‘pre-loading’ the next bite.

Drink moderately to avoid overeating. Being mindful about your alcohol consumption will also help you avoid overeating.  When we drink, alcohol lowers our inhibitions.  Overindulgence is way more likely if you’ve had a few cocktails. Scientists in Spain found that people who consumed alcohol excessively did not make good food choices while drinking.

Try everything that looks good on that buffet, with a caveat.  If you don’t like it, don’t finish it.  Simple.  Eating great food is a gift, but eating food you don’t like simply because you put it on your plate doesn’t help your waistline.   Many of us were raised to clean our plates or eat everything we take. While I am not advocating unnecessary food waste, it is not in our best health interest to clean our plates. When in doubt, just get a little bit and, if you don’t eat It all, you won’t have any guilt.

Choose your indulgences mindfully and you’ll have a happier, healthier holiday and start the year feeling good!

Andrea wants to live in a world where the neighborhoods are walkable, bike lanes are plentiful, and the food is fresh, delicious and readily available. A 20-year veteran of the health and wellness industry, she started her career in the fitness industry while earning a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, and then on to the burgeoning field of worksite wellness. Andrea has competed in collegiate level soccer, worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, wellness coach, and master trainer, climbed 14ers, and completed cycling centuries and metric centuries. All of these experiences give her the opportunity to view well-being from many different perspectives. When she’s not helping others to be their healthiest self, you can find her at a farm to table restaurant, down dogging at the yoga studio, or experiencing the Colorado landscape on a bicycle, snowshoes, cross country skis or on foot.