Managing Your Diet Through The Holidays

Thanksgiving has just passed but the holiday season in the U.S. is by no means over. There’s still a pretty long way to go. And, somewhat famously, this can be a difficult time for athletes, dieters, and fitness-minded individuals alike.

Apart from the traditional foods – generally rich in fats and sugars – this time of year also tends to be mercilessly stressful and busy. What results, then, is a stretch of time that disrupts your workout routine while consistently tempting you with… less-than-healthy foods. So, how can you manage over the next several weeks?

Plan Ahead

A little forethought can go a very long way when it comes to maintaining your healthy lifestyle. For one thing, planning ahead regarding your holiday errands can help reduce the stress of having to run around, taking care of things at the last minute.

Having a schedule also means that you’ll be able to plan your workouts. Granted, this may – and likely will – be different from the way you structure your training the rest of the year. But that’s totally fine. Remember, regular exercise reduces stress, depression, and anxiety. Making time to keep your routine, then, will ultimately benefit in many more ways than you might realize.

Your plans, though, should also include your diet. While you may very well be surprised by cookies and similar treats at the office, you probably know what to expect from the menu when you’re getting ready for larger holiday events. Which brings us neatly to the next strategy you can use during the holiday season.

Eat Mindfully

Regardless of the time of year, mindless eating is a major concern. Although you might not know it by those terms, chances are pretty good that you’re familiar with the act of throwing back an entire bag of chips without realizing it. That’s mindless eating.

This happens very easily in social, stressful or otherwise distracting situations – which makes this time of year especially dangerous. Logically, the antidote for mindless eating is mindful eating. So, along with planning your meals beforehand, be fully conscious of what you eat when you’re eating it. Are you really hungry? Do you actually enjoy that food? If so, why? If not, why not? By slowing down and purposefully thinking about what you’re eating, you reduce the chances of overdoing it and make it easier to make good dietary decisions.

Drop The Guilt

One thing you should definitely avoid this time of year is feelings of guilt or shame over missed workouts or dietary lapses. These negative feelings are poor motivators that can ultimately lead to unhealthy relationships with both food and exercise as well as a poor self-image.