The difference between good intentions and success frequently comes down to having a plan. With the hectic holidays fast approaching, it’s a smart idea to marry your good intentions to eat well and exercise with a solid plan. Try these three ideas.
Stick to a Schedule
As much as possible, stick to your current routine. If you usually jog first thing in the morning or attend yoga class before heading home from work, continue those activities. If you have scheduling conflicts, look for an alternative time for your exercise or an alternative activity. Too many people give up good habits when time is short. They plan to return to their routines, but often don’t.
The holidays bring an enormous to-do list. To keep it manageable, start creating that list now. Pick a date for each activity on your list. Include shopping for gifts, wrapping them, addressing holiday cards, baking and cooking, visiting relatives and more.
Plan Your Menus
Have a few things on hand if guests unexpectedly drop by. This Sweet and Spicy Snack Mix is a winner. A large bowl of seasonal fruits like clementines and pears is another smart idea. If you’re planning a large holiday dinner or party, a reasonable rule of thumb is to balance indulgent menu items with at least an equal number of healthful offerings. Here are a few to try.
Build in Treats
Few people have the herculean strength necessary to withstand the draw of holiday cookies, candies, rich casseroles and other unhealthful fare. Instead of hoping for willpower to see you through, pick the foods or events worth indulging. For example, you may have eight or even a dozen holiday gatherings between Thanksgiving and the first of the year. Some are probably more important or at least more delicious than others. Before the season gets underway, pick your treats. Do it now to free yourself of the mental energy when faced with tempting foods. Do you love peppermint bark? Then allow yourself a measured amount, and feel empowered when you pass by the chocolate brownies. Is your office party at an exciting restaurant? If so, allow yourself an equally exciting side dish or appetizer. If Thanksgiving doesn’t feel like a holiday without sweet potato casserole, savor a small portion of it but skip the mac and cheese and buttered biscuits.
Whatever your holiday schedule is like, a thoughtful plan will help you meet your health goals.
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is the author of Diabetes Weight Loss – Week by Week and two upcoming books, The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition and 21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and Your Heart. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the American Diabetes Association. Jill is a paid contributor to Sucralose.org. Follow Jill on Twitter @NutritionJill and find more at www.JillWeisenberger.com