Staying Motivated While Dieting During the Holidays

With our fast paced world and the ease of getting sucked into television/our laptops, we need all the help we can get with staying on track and keeping us on once we get there. It’s not easy to start eating healthy (or even maintain weight) while the holidays are upon us. Below are a few do’s and don’ts for sticking with a healthy lifestyle in the upcoming months.

Focus on the people, not the food - Remember that holiday parties and social functions are meant to be times to get together with loved ones. Get in the spirit of the holiday season by celebrating your personal relationships and recognize that you're not just there for the food.

Walk holiday stress off  - Walking or really any form of exercise is the BEST way to beat holiday stress, because it pumps up those feel good endorphins. Additionally, exercise immediately improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety.

Take responsibility - Realize that ultimately being fit and healthy is completely your responsibility, and blaming the holidays for your weight gain is just as bad as blaming other outside factors the rest of the year such as restaurants, the food manufacturers and portion sizes.

Make food swaps - One of the factors making diet control difficult this holiday is the amount of high calorie, high fat foods available over the holidays. It is important and necessary to make some simple food swaps that will reduce fat, carbohydrates, and overall calories. Simple food swaps include vegetables and bean dip rather than chips and a cream based dip, salad with dressing on the side instead of casserole dish, turkey breast or pork loin instead of high fat meat like prime rib or dark meat turkey, and a fruit based dessert instead of holiday cookies, cream puffs or pies.

Don’t drink your calories - Watching what you drink is just as important as watching what you eat. Drink lots of water not only because it’s good for you, but it will help fill you up so you eat less. Avoid special holiday cocktails, because they are packed with calories and too much alcohol could let you loosen up too much to the point where you forget about your diet.

Don’t skip breakfast - As anyone who's tried to eat sensibly knows, starving yourself now will just have you eating much more, later. To combat the urge to fill your holiday plate over and over again, make sure to eat breakfast that morning. Choose a sensible breakfast with protein and fiber so you're not too ravenous by the time the turkey hits the table.

Don’t give into food pushers - If the party host or family member tends to push food or drinks at you, keep a glass of water on hand at all times or a small plate filled with vegetables so you can ensure them you have already been taken care of.

There are a ton of great ways to stay motivated during the holiday feasts and stay on track! Don't give up! Keep your mind on your goals and instead of focusing so much on the food, focus on the time with your loved ones. It will make the holidays all that much more special and filled with less regret!