18 Ways to Stay on Track over the Holidays

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/29/2012 10:00 AM   :  22 comments   :  23,943 Views

See More: tips, holidays,
Congratulations on making it through all of those Thanksgiving temptations! Now, it's time to face the upcoming barrage of holiday parties over the next month. Between the office buffets, neighborhood open houses, family gatherings, religious festivities, and community get-togethers, sticking to a healthy eating plan can become difficult, to say the least.

While there are a variety of excuses to overindulge during the holidays, the best defense against holiday eating disasters is a good plan of action.  There is no better way to formulate a plan for holiday survival than to learn from how others stay healthy during this time of joy and celebration.  Use these helpful SparkPeople member tips to stay on track into the New Year.

''When people offer you tempting food options, tell them you are ''in training'' to lead a healthier lifestyle. In my experience, many people seem to take that better than if I were to say ''I'm watching my weight.'' You can be ''in training'' for anything, including living a healthier life.''

''Mentally practice passing up foods that you've chosen not to indulge in ahead of time. This makes it easier to actually follow through with your plan when the time comes. You're just re-enacting the scene you've already played out in your head many times.''

''When making latkes, use a non-stick frying pan and boiled potatoes instead of raw ones in the mixture. This helps to eliminate the need for a huge amount of fat.''

''When baking quick breads (like zucchini, pumpkin, blueberry, etc.), use unsweetened applesauce instead of oil. Some people say to use part oil and part applesauce, but using just unsweetened applesauce makes for a very moist bread while cutting out a load of fat and calories.''

''Do you get weary thinking of how much extra work the holidays require? If you have grown children, consider going away for the holidays to reduce stress while also allowing your kids the opportunity to establish their own family traditions. Instead, try getting together as an extended family a few weeks later, after the holiday craziness has settled down.''

''It is important to realize one person can't do everything. Allow everyone to pitch in and help, including young children. People really do enjoy contributing and knowing that they played a part in the celebration.''

''Do you receive gifts of candy and cookies that you know will be too tempting to avoid? Consider dropping them by a homeless shelter. Although the homeless may struggle with health issues, the treats can help brighten their day.''  

''Say NO to the treats you really don't love so you can say YES and enjoy the treats you do!''

''There are plenty of things to DO to make a holiday special besides EATING. Focus on ways to spend quality time with family and friends that don't include food, such as volunteering to ring the bell for the Salvation Army, or helping sort food at the local food bank. Pull out a deck of cards and board games, and enjoy some friendly competition and laughs. Get out old pictures, slides and videos of holidays past and enjoy the memories.''

''Do you typically participate in a cookie exchange with family or friends? Consider suggesting a new focus other than food this year, such as an ornament or book exchange.  Another option is to enjoy making the cookies and then creating mix and match plates of the delicious goodies to take to your local fire or police station, Ronald McDonald house or Big Brothers/Big Sisters center to help brighten the holidays of those who are less fortunate.''

''As you are preparing the house for the festivities, turn the chores into ''stealth'' exercise. Put on your workout clothes to get into workout mode. Crank up the inspirational music and vacuum and clean vigorously fast to get that heart rate up. Not only will you get the cleaning done in record time, but you will also fit in an interval workout as well.''

''Be encouraged by holiday snowfall. Not only is it beautiful, but it also provides great ways to exercise when you shovel the snow or walk up hills after enjoying a sled ride down.''

''Don't forget about getting proper sleep and rest amidst your hectic holiday schedule. Feeling refreshed can help you enjoy the season more!''

''I try to remember that Thanksgiving is a single day in November, and Christmas is a single day in December. The holidays do NOT include all the days in between--unless I let them!''

''Set goals to track your food, continue to exercise, and look for other ways to celebrate the holidays that don't include food. If you can, limit the social obligations to just a few and go full, not hungry. Know yourself and be mindful of the landmines that can sabotage your efforts toward your goals.''

''Find accountability buddies (on SparkPeople or otherwise) who can offer you support and ideas to stay on track through the holidays. Having others in your life who understand your daily struggles makes a difference.''

''With so many things going on during the holidays, you might feel like you are on a treadmill and can't get off. Step back, meditate for a while and calm down. Feeling calmer can help you feel more positive.''

''The holidays evoke a variety of feelings such as stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, or financial constraints. If you are feeling down during this time of year, throwing yourself into volunteering does wonders at putting things into perspective.''
 
What tips and tricks do you use to stay on track during this time of year? Which of these ideas will help you make positive choices this year?


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Comments

  • 22
    Some good advice that I was given -- if you really want something only sample it. Take no more than three bites, eat slowly, and pause between each one. Seems to be working for me. Maybe it will help you too. - 12/7/2013   8:09:12 AM
  • JILLARIE
    21
    I recently was invited to a Cookie Swap! Strongly considered not going but life must go on and removing myself socially is not ok. My plan is to eat a very healthy breakfast that day, work out the day before & after & share my take home cookies with others. Wish me luck, Happy Holidays! - 12/6/2012   10:54:32 AM
  • 20
    Stay on track. - 12/4/2012   7:09:15 PM
  • 19
    Nutrition and fitness tracking is so important.
    The sooner it becomes a natural thing to do,
    the closer we get to success. - 12/4/2012   11:17:35 AM
  • CHRISTINASP
    18
    One thing I did was look at my calendar and make a ticker to remind that it's still x days until solstice (just before Christmas). It means I can still use ALL these days to work on improving my health!
    I too love that statement about 'one day'. Though for me, Christmas really is two days! It's a very good thought though. - 12/3/2012   11:02:14 AM
  • 17
    My friend sent me home with cookies made just for me - how could I have disappointed her and not taken them?! So I didn't. I took them home and put them in the freezer. I can thaw them one at a time later, when I'm due for a treat, without completely throwing off my cal count by eating them all in one sitting. - 12/3/2012   6:41:16 AM
  • CVJANE
    16
    All of the tips are great, but I especially loved turning housework into a workout. Another thing I have tried is being less efficient :) If things need to go upstairs, if I have time I take them up one at a time instead of saving them all at the bottom for one trip. It is amazing how many flights of stairs you can do that way! Saves money on a step machine too LOL



    - 12/3/2012   12:18:56 AM
  • 15
    I love the tip about choosing a treat to look forward to that I love and donating the rest to others who might appreciate treats for the Holidays. - 12/2/2012   12:00:45 PM
  • 14
    Thanks for the great ideas!!! I love to bake cookies so will take them to Fire and Police Depts. Good idea as it also shows we do appreciate them and all they do for us. They don't even get Christmas off. - 12/1/2012   7:24:23 PM
  • RBOYD7
    13
    wow! What a wealth of ideas here.... best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday to all! - 11/30/2012   12:12:13 PM
  • 12
    I try to concentrate on the fact that I can finally get out and do some healthy exercise now that the snow is starting to fall - hate that 'in-between' season. So I think more about getting out with snow-shoes or cross country ski's than about food - OK but there are a couple of days when food takes center stage so the days of exercise help take care of that ! - 11/30/2012   11:34:16 AM
  • TSHIRT24H
    11
    Ido really good until the day of Thanksgiving! I do try to keep my munching to healthy stuff mostly though! Christmas is harder. Christmas eve you munch, and Christmas day! - 11/30/2012   11:07:26 AM
  • 10
    These are wonderful tips. My favorites include:

    ''Mentally practice passing up foods that you've chosen not to indulge in ahead of time. This makes it easier to actually follow through with your plan when the time comes. You're just re-enacting the scene you've already played out in your head many times.''

    ''Do you receive gifts of candy and cookies that you know will be too tempting to avoid? Consider dropping them by a homeless shelter. Although the homeless may struggle with health issues, the treats can help brighten their day.''

    ''I try to remember that Thanksgiving is a single day in November, and Christmas is a single day in December. The holidays do NOT include all the days in between--unless I let them!'' - 11/30/2012   11:02:49 AM
  • 9
    We started a Spark Team to help those struggling during the Holidays "Lose Weight During the Holidays"
    We have tips like some above, and we offer support and strategies.

    Feel free to join: SparkTeam Lose weight over the Holidays
    - 11/30/2012   3:16:58 AM
  • LOSING30TOWIN
    8
    I really liked when the article said that the holidays are only one day in November and one day in December and not all the days in-between. That's such a great way to look at it. When I look at it that way I don't feel deprived the other days and allow myself a little extra calories on those two days without going crazy. - 11/30/2012   12:47:38 AM
  • 7
    A giant time saver and stress reliever for us is having our decorated artificial tree covered in a sheet so that all we have to do is bring it upstairs from the basement and uncover it. Voila! You can guess my favorite tip: "One person can't do everything." - 11/29/2012   11:41:06 PM
  • NGREGOR
    6
    I especially like ''Mentally practice passing up foods...'' I am a firm believer in "program your mind with positive thoughts" and "The Power of Positive Thinking." I am positive I really don't need to make (and eat) fudge or more than 1 taste of an appetizer, etc, etc, etc. - 11/29/2012   10:17:38 PM
  • 5
    Excellent tips.......this is my favorite from your article:

    ''I try to remember that Thanksgiving is a single day in November, and Christmas is a single day in December. The holidays do NOT include all the days in between--unless I let them!''

    I seem to forget that every year and make it a 5 - 6 week free for all. It's the Thanksgiving/Christmas/NewYear Holiday and it lasts close to a month and a half.

    Thanks for the reminder to enjoy a little of what you love and forget the rest! - 11/29/2012   6:03:42 PM
  • 4
    My "sweet" indulgence each week is a maple bar at the local donut shop. Have been meeting a friend there weekly for over a year. We have such a great relationship - she has become my true inspiration. When I am tempted, I just remember that I can "splurge" come next Tuesday morning.
    barb - 11/29/2012   1:07:09 PM
  • 3
    ''Say NO to the treats you really don't love so you can say YES and enjoy the treats you do!''
    This is a tip that is year-round, the key to a healthier lifestyle. "No" is a perfectly acceptable answer and does not require embellishment when we know all the things we can say "Yes" to. - 11/29/2012   12:43:29 PM
  • 2
    Great tips....it is all about HOW much....you can taste everything just not mounds of it... - 11/29/2012   12:40:17 PM
  • 1
    Great tips!! This is my favorite and will be posted in my office at at home:
    ''I try to remember that Thanksgiving is a single day in November, and Christmas is a single day in December. The holidays do NOT include all the days in between--unless I let them!''


    - 11/29/2012   11:09:09 AM

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