In the midst of the holidays, temptation is everywhere. Decadent desserts like pumpkin or pecan pies, fruit cake (yuck), king cake, and cookies of every kind. Holiday treats like figgy pudding (again, yuck), candy canes, and hot wassail. Traditional favorites such as honey ham, bread everyway it can be kneaded, baked, and buttered, and potatoes – mashed, baked, fried, au gratin, julienne, sweet, and boiled. Stockings full of candies and chocolates. Mugs overflowing with hot cocoa and marshmallows (why have one without the other). Frosty glasses of holiday punch. Like I said, temptation is everywhere.
So what can be done this holiday season to avoid the scrumptious delicacies peeking out from every store window and hiding in every relative’s kitchen corner?
The answer is simple (at least to me). Nothing.
You don’t need to go back and re-read that last line. You read it right the first time. I don’t want you to avoid the delicious and decidedly un-nutritious holiday treats we all love so much (because where’s the fun in that). Instead, I want you to enjoy those holiday treats…I just want you to be smart about it.
Don’t worry; this isn’t a trick. I’m serious. Like many of you, I’m only human, and I enjoy every chestnut and cherry cordial I pop in my mouth between Black Friday and New Years. I have no intention of giving up the satisfying warmth of a peppermint mocha on a cold day to spare a few pounds in the long run.
I am more than a number on a scale. I am a daughter who loves baking and eating Christmas cookies with my family – hands covered in powder, hearts full of love. I am a friend who enjoys nothing more than a marshmallow eating contest at a holiday party – cheeks full to bursting with puffs of pure sugar.
I am more than a size on a pair of jeans. I am a memory maker, and I am going to enjoy every minute of this life that I live even if it means wearing my stretchy pants from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day.
That being said, I want to share with you three tricks of the trade to help slow the gaining of those very thoughtful holiday pounds that keep us warm every winter. They’re easy and painless, I promise. Are you ready?
1. Have a little self-control.
Do not refrain from eating a piece of fully loaded pecan pie complete with ice cream and whipped cream. Instead, refrain from eating the entire pie.
Enjoy, thoroughly, one large piece with all of the fixings, but don’t go back for seconds…or thirds…or fifths. You can still enjoy all of your favorite foods while making good (or at least good-ish) choices.
2. Eat until you’re sluggish, but don’t actually be sluggish.
Get up and get going. Don’t neglect your physical fitness during the holidays. Spend at least fifteen minutes a day getting your heart rate up.
This isn’t as hard as you might think. With all that time spent with family, get them up and moving with you. Go outside (in a coat) and throw a football around with your brother. Give a piggyback ride to your niece or crawl around the floor with your newest nephew.
This next one is my favorite.
3. Don’t drink your calories.
I’m not telling you to cut back on your holiday beverage of choice (remember, I’m a peppermint mocha kind of girl). I’m simply suggesting that you limit yourself to one cup of Irish Cream at the party. Try replacing soft drinks with water. Use fresh juice in your holiday punch. Make your cocoa with skim milk.
We can easily cut out a few calories and a few buckets of sugar by changing what we drink this holiday season.
This year, as you sit down with friends and family, in your extra stretchy yoga pants, to stuff your face with your favorite Christmas goodies, remember these simple tips. Enjoy!