The holiday season is one of the most challenging times to take care of one’s self, even though it truly ought to be a time of slowing down to preserve energy. Between all the events, end of the year work load, social commitments, and holiday parties, worries inevitably turn to the subject of dieting.

Eating “in moderation” is not a term I like using at all. It’s straight up silly-because how do we really define it? It depends on the individual, doesn’t it?

Does eating ice cream in moderation mean I can eat a whole pint once a month? Or is it once per day (as long as it’s Halo Top brand)? What about chips+guac? Or pizza? Is it cool if I have a danish one day because it’s “in moderation” and the next day have a cannoli? That’s “moderation” too because I haven’t had a cannoli since my sister’s baby shower last week, right? You get the idea.

Having a black-or-white mentality about food isn’t effective either though. It’s not ALL OR NOTHING. It shouldn’t be at least. It’s not “I should just eat way less” nor is it “Screw it, I’m going to eat everything and just start again next year.” Here are a few tips to keep yourself on track during the holidays without extra stress (and pounds) for 2019.

  1. Redefine “Moderation”. Look at moderation as an 80/20 mentality. 80% of the week, dedicate yourself to eating whole foods rich in vitamins and fiber that fuel and nourish your body. 20% of the time consciously choose and enjoy an indulgence (a drink, a cookie, pizza, whatever you like).
  2. DON’T DIET. That’s right, I said it. Instead of focusing on losing weight over the holidays, consider maintaining. There’s a lot less pressure applied to the mind (which naturally resists change), especially this time of the year. Stay on top of portion control, move your body every day, and get good sleep.
  3. Be Mindful with Alcohol. A cocktail is like a cupcake. Everything “in moderation” (refer to tip #1) is a difficult mantra to follow during the holidays. One standard drink serving is 12 ounces of light beer, 8 ounces of regular beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor or spirits. Savor indulgent drinks like eggnog like they’re a dessert. ALWAYS drink water between alcoholic beverages to prevent dehydration and to prevent overeating. Also, be choosy with your drink mixes. That is where the calories can add up quickly.
  4. Do Not Go Hungry. Arriving to a party or event hungry is a quick gateway to overeating along with choosing foods you normally wouldn’t. Never avoid eating during the day to “save” your calories for a large meal later; it will most likely cause you to eat more overall. Have a nourishing snack before going out. You will be hungry enough to enjoy your favorite holiday foods, but not so hungry that you overeat.
  5. Stay active. A busy holiday schedule can throw off your gym routine. Make sure you sign up for classes/private sessions the week ahead. YOU should be the priority-you’ll thank yourself later. Moving your body during the winter months will keep your joints from locking up, help you sleep better as the circadian rhythms shift, and keep stress from overwhelming.

Cheers to healthy, happy holidays with loved ones, good food, and great movement!