Enjoying the holidays and the delicious foods that surround this time doesn't have to mean throwing healthy habits out the window. Relaxing with friends and family, settling in for a cozy night with pets, binge-watching a long-awaited show or traveling to see loved ones are what we look forward to over the holidays. However, any change in our daily routine can disrupt our good habits.
Nicole German Morgan, a registered dietitian based in Sarasota, says that being thrown off of our normal routine by a busy holiday season can mean we miss out on exercise, skip a meal now and then, dine out more often and opt for fast foods or convenient items while on the go—especially if we are traveling.
So, to stay on track during this busy time of year, check out her tips:
Don't Diet to Prepare for Holiday Season
Don't push yourself to lose weight before holiday events, as this can lead to unhealthy eating patterns like yo-yo dieting. It can also have a negative effect on a healthy, functioning metabolism, which is far too precious to mess with. And, don't forget about the mental toll. Consistency is the most helpful approach for overall well-being and encourages a healthy relationship with food. Not to mention, if you maintain that consistency before and after the holidays, it makes that little blip in between easy to bounce back from.
Aim for 50 Percent Better
The end of the year is a great time for reflection, take stock of how you've controlled your diet and aim to be 50 percent better by increasing your healthy choices and decreasing the frequency in which you reach for something fried or sugary. Small goals will keep you from the all-or nothing letdown when you sneak an extra gingerbread man.
Breakfast is for the Best of Us
Never skip breakfast in preparation for an extravagant party or while rushing to catch a flight. Prioritize protein in the morning even if you're in a holiday rush. Try to have some nuts or make a smoothie with a pop of protein powder or peanut butter, which will keep you full and help you make wiser decisions throughout the day.
Go Easy on Fasting
If you're interested in giving fasting a try, take it slow with time-restricted eating sometimes known as intermittent fasting. When practicing this style of fasting you prep your body to go without food for 12-14 hours (usually overnight) with a smaller window for eating during the day. If you feel like you're going overboard during your eating hours, decrease your fasting time and remember to be gentle with yourself. Every lifestyle change is a journey.
Exercise: The 90-Minute Rule
If you're one of those people who like to exercise at night, be sure to rest for at least 90 minutes before heading to slumberland. Your body needs to recover from strenuous activity and the 90-minute mark allows time for your heart rate to recover, ensuring a restful sleep—essential for maintaining good health.
As a final note, Morgan says, “Always remember, it's not saving calories that improves weight loss, but how you balance a whole day’s nutritional intake and get enough of the right carbs, fats and proteins to fuel your metabolism and your body to stay healthy.”
To get more information on diet and food-planning, you can book a personalized virtual appointment for diet consultation on Morgan’s website.