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Don’t Let the Holidays Derail Healthy Habits

October 29, 2018

As the holiday season approaches, life can become chaotic. Extra social gatherings, longer to-do lists, and an overabundance of sweet treats can lead us astray from healthy habits. But you don’t have to let the holidays throw you off track from weight loss goals.

Routine is the key

“Over the holidays, routine is key to maintaining stability,” says Laura Vikmanis, RDN, LD, registered dietitian with Kettering Weight Loss Solutions. Between Halloween and New Year’s, it can be easy to put off healthy habits until the new year. However, incorporating healthy foods and finding time for exercise is vital to staying on track over the holiday months. “You might not be able to fit in all your normal exercise classes,” says Vikmanis, “but do something, even just for 20-30 minutes, to keep your routine up.”

Vikmanis explains that she often sees clients falling into an “all or nothing” mindset, categorizing holiday time as “off a diet” and post-holidays as “on a diet.” However, thinking in a gray area can be more beneficial. It’s okay to indulge in a small amount of the special treats you really want, and focus on making healthy choices the rest of the time.

Practical, simple swaps

In the last months of the year, one of the biggest challenges is the constant temptation for sweets and higher-calorie foods. Vikmanis advises to make a general rule to eat protein first. “At a buffet, for example, eat the turkey or deli meat first. Then if you want to indulge a little in something you normally wouldn’t, have a taste rather than avoiding that food altogether, which can lead to bingeing later.” Consuming protein at regular intervals throughout the day ensures you don’t go too long without eating and can prevent bingeing on calorie-dense foods.  

Focusing on simple swaps can help as well. “One of the easiest things to do is to cut out liquid calories like soda or juice,” says Vikmanis. Replace these with sugar-free or non-caloric beverages, then focus on cutting back on simple sweets like candy, sugar, and fried foods. Incorporate snacks that are high in protein, such as low-fat cheeses, nuts, cottage cheese, or Greek yogurt.

Buddy up

Having a buddy system can help you stay on track with weight loss and health goals. Find a buddy you can work out with or who will keep you accountable for eating healthy. This could be a partner, friend, family member, or it even could be joining an online weight loss support group. You may find a community that continues to be a source of support even after the holidays have passed. 

Kettering Weight Loss Solutions offers a comprehensive program that focuses on nutritional, behavioral, and exercise approaches to weight loss. Whatever your situation, we help you achieve the weight loss that is right for you. Learn more at ketteringhealth.org/weightloss