A few months ago, I stepped on the scale at my yearly check-up. I noticed that the number on the scale was about 25 lbs more than it had been the last time I had stepped on it about a year and a half before. That thought didn’t sit well with me, at least momentarily. But on I went and returned home to snacking and eating in response to any stress in my life. I tried to justify it by telling myself I was snacking on healthy food. After all, hummus and cucumber are healthy, right? I ignored the fact that hummus does, in fact, have some fat content and eating so much of it in such a short period of time isn’t healthy, either.
My unhealthy eating habits, along with my erratic sleep schedule, and a lapse in making time for physical activity, finally began to take a toll on me.
I’ve had issues with hormone balance since I was a teenager, was diagnosed with PCOS as a college student, and experience has taught me that significant weight gain does impact my hormones, my demeanor and, in turn, my ability to be a pleasant person.
This past September, I felt myself slipping into this realm of hormone chaos and finally decided enough was enough. Since then, I’ve made some changes, gotten some support, and I am happy to say I have lost 11 lbs in the last two months. I feel so much better, I am happier, and I am optimistic I can reach my health goals.
That said, the holidays are upon us.
I have to be careful not to eat every Christmas cookie or holiday pie in sight. I do not want to end up gaining the 11 lbs I have worked so hard to lose. So, I’ve devised a plan I can hopefully stick to through the holiday season to help me maintain my weight loss. I hope by sharing these tips, those who are also on the same kind of path I am can feel supported, not alone, and encouraged.
Here are my five guidelines for holiday season eating:
1. Portion size control
This is key! I don’t need to stuff myself like a turkey to feel full. Just because something tastes delicious doesn’t mean I need three helpings of it. My jeans will thank me later.
2. Eat the dessert and drink adult beverages- but in moderation
This is really still about portion control, but I feel separating it from portion control when it comes to regular food is important. It is far easier for me not to have three helpings of turkey than it is not to have three pieces of pie.
I feel that entirely depriving myself of dessert is just a recipe for getting frustrated and angry. I refuse to watch everyone else eat pie and feel sorry for myself. I’m going to eat the pie! But I don’t need to eat multiple pieces of pie, spread out throughout the day or not. One piece will be enough. Or even a taste of two kinds.
With Christmas cookies, I think I am going to set aside a small container of ones I make that I’d love to eat. Then spread out my consumption of them over a couple of weeks. Once they are gone, they are gone. Thankfully, I give away most that I make.
As for adult drinks, I’m not about to deprive myself of them all season long either. A glass of wine on Thanksgiving isn’t going to send my weight skyrocketing. Staying on track with my health goals is about allowing a little of it but not going overboard.
3. Eat more veggies than carbs
Corn and green beans here I come! I’ll probably have a little less of the mashed potatoes, as I am sure there is plenty of milk in my family’s recipe. However, if there are more veggies on my plate than carbs, I know I’m setting myself up for success with my health goals.
4. Embrace the fruit basket
We think of Christmas cookies this time of year, but it is also the season of citrus fruit! I have vivid memories of my great-grandmother shipping crates of citrus fruit from Florida when I was a kid. Pomegranates are also in season, and so delicious. This year I plan to make my own little fruit baskets, just for me. When I get a craving for a Christmas cookie, I hope you’ll find me raiding my fruit basket.
5. Make sure to get up and walk.
Did you know the average American sits for 10 hours a day? I’ve also learned that even going to the gym for an hour a day does not entirely cancel out the ill effects of sitting for this long the rest of the day. What does make a difference is trying to get up and walk around for a part of every hour. I’ve been trying to do this and making a conscious effort to hit 10,000 steps on my fitness tracker every day, whether I’ve had a hard workout or not during that day. While I don’t always do so, at least I come close and I think it has made all the difference in helping me make progress with my health goals.
During the holidays, it is so easy to sit in front of the TV watching football for hours with an adult drink or sit having a Christmas special marathon with your kids while eating treats. But I’m not going to let football or Rudolph put any of my health goals in jeopardy. I’m going to take the time to get up and walk frequently. Hitting 10,000 steps might be challenging on a holiday, but I’m willing to take on this challenge!
I love the holidays and everything that comes with them, and the food is no exception. However, I am determined to meet my health goals despite all the treats and deliciousness that surround me.