As a parent, you have probably told your children many times as they leave the house: make good choices. Our lives are a accumulation of the choices we make, so the younger we can teach kids the importance of decisions, the better! As adults, I think we can forget this principle. Perhaps we think we have figured it out, or we just get lazy. In either case, I thought I would encourage you as we enter the holiday season to be mindful of your eating habits. Nothing is worse than going up a size or two by January for just one month of celebrating.
We can enjoy the season without going overboard by making smart choices, meal by meal. Starting with breakfast, try to include some fruit and fiber to fill you up. A cup of coffee will get you going in more ways than one, but one is sufficient. Too much caffeine will interfere with your sleeping patterns later. Lack of sleep weakens your immune system, and we are also entering the cold and flu season.
For lunch, eat at home when you can. We tend to eat healthier when we make it ourselves. When you do go out, watch portions. Get a to-go box with your meal. Place half of it in the box immediately and seal it up. Eat what is left and bring the rest home. Drink plenty of water while you wait for your food as it will reduce your appetite. Skip dessert as you will have plenty of holiday parties and festivities where yummies will be available.
At dinner, try to eat earlier so your body has time to digest. None of us does well going to sleep on a full stomach, and the older we get, digesting takes longer. We have less stomach acid, and if you lie down too soon, you will trigger acid reflux, which is uncomfortable. Again, watch your portions. Eat your salad first to get fiber and include lean proteins and fresh vegetables. Limit your starches and simple carbohydrates, especially during the holidays. When we are good with our meals, we have wiggle room later… figuratively and literally!
You would be shocked to learn how many calories are in wine. Some of you just stopped reading my blog. LOL! Seriously, be mindful of the amount of calories you are drinking. They sneak up on you! Save your calories for more decadent items. Plus, alcohol also disrupts your sleep. It makes you feel sleepy on the front end but then prevents the production of serotonin and melatonin. Thus, you wake up right after you fall asleep and feel wired.
Our schedules get full and hectic around the holidays, but you must protect your exercise time. 1) You will combat the extra calories by burning them, 2) You will maintain your sanity! Exercise is good for our body, mind, and spirits!
As you look at your week ahead, plan accordingly. If you know you will have a big meal out for dinner, go light for lunch. If you have a big party coming up, cook healthy, small meals for a day or two before.
I wouldn’t encourage you to try and lose weight between now and New Year’s, but I do suggest you strive to maintain and not gain any weight. You will thank me come January! I have a lot more on the subject matter in my book, Fit Over 50. Be healthy, merry, and make smart choices.