How to Stick to Healthy Eating This Thanksgiving
You guys! This time tomorrow will you officially be able to say "gobble gobble" multiple times a day, and it will be socially acceptable. At the risk of throwing out every cliche about time flying by, let me say. Whoa. 2018 is quickly drawing to an end. For many of us eating our way through the holiday season is just the standard path until you reach the new year. New you. New resolution. Here's my gripe with that. Prevention is much easier than correction. Check out these 5 Super Simple Ways to Eat Healthier this Thanksgiving and Holiday Season to help you stay on track!
1. 80/20 Rule
Our waistlines aren't the only thing that explodes during the holidays - our schedules take the number one spot here. Between kids activities, school plays events, holiday events, and family traditions (such as tree trimming, baking, volunteering, etc.). We are on the run more than usual AND bombarded with social environments where red light foods run rampant - typically a dangerous combination when it comes to sticking to healthy eating.
On the one hand, we want to stick to our healthy habits. On the other side, it's the holidays gosh darn it, and you wait to have Aunt Linda's cheesecake all. Year. Long. Ok, that's me. It's my Aunt Linda and cheesecake. But a girl's gotta live, right?! Please, girlfriend, eat the cake. Just eat a smaller piece. Employ the 80/20 Rule.
80% of the time you are on your BEST behavior. 20% of the time you get to live your best life. Use the 80/20 when you are meal planning. Look at what social functions you have committed to at the beginning of the week, and where and when you will most likely indulge in your 20% - then plan your week around that. To keep it simple, I would aim to stick to healthy eating all nights that you are eating at home. The other big piece of 80/20 success is ensuring you can keep your 20% under control.
2. Say NO to Hangry
I am not going to be blowing minds with this one, but this easy health hack is worthy of the mention. There are a few times in my life where I am guaranteed to make horrible decisions. Hangry is not my friend, nor yours, and I think it's safe to say that nobody does well under the duress of being overly hungry. Being in such a state often leads us grabbing for anything (in larger quantities than we need) within arms reach to satisfy the bottomless pit in your belly quickly. Snickers even turned this very behavior into a genius marketing campaign - genius because it resonates with everyone.
If you know that you are heading to a dinner, party, or function of the sort make sure you curb your appetite ahead of time. Have an apple, handful of nuts, a few slices of clean deli meat, etc. The goal is to aim for something that is high in fiber or protein that can fill you enough to ward off the hunger monster. Keeping your blood sugar balanced will help you make better food choices and keep your mood festive or social interactions.
3. Portion Patrol
As mentioned above keeping our 20% in check is part of the challenge with an 80/20 lifestyle. Portion control is key. Cliche alert. As a society, we suffer from a severe "portion distortion." If you look back over the past 50 (and even 20!) years, the size by which our portions have grown is mindblowing. It's no wonder we are fatter and less healthy than our Grandparents' generation. As with most things in life - less is more.
The following tips are pretty straightforward. First up, use a smaller plate. Using a smaller plate is particularly helpful in settings where there is a self-serve spread. You typically find a larger plate and a smaller appetizer plate available. Always try to use the smaller plate. Several studies have been done to prove that we will eat to whatever capacity is available to us. For example, if at the movie theater you get the giant bag of popcorn you will consume most of the giant bag of popcorn. However, if you get the smaller size, you will eat most of the smaller size - and still be equally as satisfied. Here's another fun fact you may not know. They have studied how satisfying foods are and for how long. The findings proved that we don't get that "OMG" foodgasm feeling past three bites. Three bites! Everything after that is you just chasing that first bite high.
As you fill your plate be mindful of filling half of it will higher fiber, and more nutrient dense (AKA healthy) foods, leaving the other half to accommodate your proteins and indulgences. If you want to go up for second and refill the plate, by all means; However, chances are you will end up socializing and talking, and you may not even make your way back up, which helps to curb mindless munching. The only exception to this suggestion is a sit-down dinner. As you can imagine requesting a smaller plate from your host could be strange. Don't be that guest. Don't fret, keep reading - the solution is below. Although I forewarn you, it's controversial.
4. AND Leggings
I will preface this section with a little background on my Fall/Winter uniform of choice. Basically, from October to March, you can find me living my best life in a slouchy top, boots or ballet flats and, wait for it, leggings. EXCEPT, at functions during the holidays. There I said it. But it's reason has nothing to do with the ability to have full range motion AND be comfortable at the same time, but more with helping me manage my portion control. Seriously! Hear me out.
Since we don't want to be THAT guest asking for a special plate and weighing our food at the grown-up table, it becomes a little more challenging to keep portions and our 20% in check. BUT. You know what does happen when you are reaching the point of over eating, and you are wearing your skinny jeans, or a slinky dress, you start to feel literally stuffed. You begin to feel slightly self-conscience that you are bloating and no longer fitting into your outfit of choice. At this point, you will have two options. A. lean back and unbutton that top button or B. stop eating. No judgment from me on which option you choose, I am only concerned that you realize that you have a choice. When we wear elastic waistbands and stretchy pants (oh yes they are!) with a slouchy top, we are less likely to notice or care about the bloat happening hidden away from all to see. We are a proud bunch - may as well use it to our advantage.
5. Quench Your Libations
Earlier we had discussed the circumstances under which I am likely to make questionable decisions. Hanger - Check. There is one more that gets most of us every time. Getting loosey-goosey. And by loosey, I mean boozy. There are three main reasons alcohol leads to poor food choices and overeating. First, we have lower inhibitions. We know we need that fourth slice of cheesecake like we need a hole in our head, but frankly, Scarlette, we don't give a damn. Second, alcohol is high in sugar and does a number on our blood sugar levels, which if you remember from early in the post, leads to situation hanger.
To demonstrate the third reason I'll drop another fun fact on you. Did you know that when we are dehydrated our bodies will often misconstrue that message as hunger? So we eat, but in reality, we are just thirsty. I am not going to give you and hard and fast rules about how much you should drink or not drink during the holidays. Everybody handles alcohol differently, and as with most things, there is no one size fits all solution. However, I will recommend that you rotate your alcohol consumption with good ol fashion H2O. Enjoy a beverage. Have some water. Enjoy a drink. Have some water. By committing to this consumption pattern, you will keep all these of the points in this section under control.
I believe that we can live a healthy live and still live. We can have our cake and eat it too, just a smaller piece. And with these tips I implore you to go forth into Thanksgiving and the holiday season that follows and eat, drink, and be merry!