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Calories Still Count if Your Standing. Holiday Eating 101.

Posted Dec 10 2010 10:46am

…but maybe not if you are decorating, dancing to Christmas music or watching Love Actually. ;)

‘Tis the season for running around, decking the halls and circling the appetizer table. Whether you are decking in and out of Macy’s, Auntie Anne’s pretzel in hand, or munching on fast food sitting in Christmas tree traffic, it can be easy to forget what your chomping on (or even that your chomping on anything at all). Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Cinnabons. Late night I’m-Exhausted-From-Shopping Chinese Food. Eggnog, quiches and cookies on the party scene. The toss and go method of eating during this time or year is one of the biggest reasons people full bloated and heavy come January 2nd.

But fear not, you can still indulge and enjoy, without the fear of looking a little more like Santa Claus.

Get and Stay Mindful
Just because the mall food court smells good, doesn’t mean you should be shopping with one hand or mouth full at all times. For me, being mindful and remembering what this season is actually about helps keep my healthy habits in check. Sure, pecan pie is nice, but the holidays are about being with the ones you love and being thankful for all the joys in your life. Despite how busy you are or how many parties you need to attend, take the time to assess your actual hunger levels. Sit down and breathe before inhaling more than you need. Enjoy time spent with family, friends and loved ones. Not with your eggnog hangover.

Have a Plan
Planning can be lame. In most cases, it’s much more fun to hang a ride on the wind and go with it. But, if you have a few personal guides in your mind, it can help you attack (or not attack) the buffet table and bar with ease. Some good rules of thumb:

* Drink lots of water. Fills you up, helps hangovers, banishes bloat. Easy!
* Don’t hover over the snack table. I struggle with this too, since it seems people are always hovering over the good eats. But take the conversation elsewhere. It will be the same, your hand just won’t be in the chip bowl.
* Skip the heavy holiday drinks (like ‘nog or mulled wine). Go for the champagne, wine, alcohol with seltzer, etc. If you need a little holiday spirit cheer, have one of those fancy schmancy drinks – but just have one or skip a few extra crackers to balance it out.
* Try not to drink too much. It’ll make you hungrier and/or you could find yourself in a compromising situation at the holiday office party.
* Bring your own healthy snacks, meals, etc. to a party. Not only is it nice to contribute, but you’ll know there’s at least something good for you floating around. You may even inspire others.
* Fill up on salad and veggies and try to incorporate protein in your meals.
* Unless the appetizer is phenomenal, don’t stuff yourself even before the main course is served.
* Don’t head to dinner or parties hungry. This could lead to you eating everything in sight.
* On holiday shopping commutes or while hitting the mall, pack a healthy snack so you don’t feel the need for a double whip mocha and cookie the size of your head.

Move Yo’ Cute Butt
As the weather gets colder, the gyms get emptier. Don’t let this be you. Squeeze in time to workout or, at least, incorporate some type of physical activity in your day. Since I’m not a huge fan of the cold weather, I often joke that I am getting ready for hibernation. But my hibernating cave also comes equipped with a nice stack of workout DVDs. Even if it’s 20 minutes a day, anything more than nothing counts.

But most importantly..
Enjoy Yourself
It is the holidays. And I’m going to enjoy it and get down and so should you. Yeah, have some plans, be mindful, but have fun. Don’t obsess over not eating this or only eating that. Have your cake, pie, cookies, Mom’s best lasagna, but don’t stuff yourself with it. A few bites here or there and eating until your satisfied will keep the cal count low and your food baby to a minimum. P.S. If you want to immediately cut about 100 cals. from your pie, skip the crust.

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