It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with parties galore and bingeing in store on anything and everything we see! For some of us, it means letting loose and having a grand ‘ol time. For others, it means turning into the Grinch, because all we see are goodies we can’t or shouldn’t have.
But, fear not! With these few tips, you can still enjoy some holiday cheer and keep the scales balanced for a Happy New Year.
Track Your Calories & Macros
If you’re not tracking your daily calories and macronutrients (aka macros), start immediately. If you don’t, you can very easily end up consuming way too many calories in the blink of an eye (or several bites of a pie). One of the most popular apps is MyFitnessPal. It’s easy to use and your macro percentages can be customized. If you’re really old school (like Santa), then a pen and paper will do. Either way, tracking helps you think before you drink … and eat.
Divide and Conquer the Cravings
One of the best ways to control the holiday (or any day) bingeing is to eat your protein first. Protein is more satiating than carbs and fat. In addition, protein and carbs are 4 calories/gram, while fat is 9 calories/gram.
Another tip for portion control is to “share the wealth.” There’s no need to deprive yourself of your favorite meals or desserts, especially during the holidays. Simply divide them in half and share them with someone special. Sharing is caring!
Substitute “Nice” Versions For “Naughty” Favorites
One of the naughtiest seasonal beverages is egg nog. A quick search on MyFitnessPal showed that some can be as high as 240 calories for 0.5 cup. However, those made with almond milk are only 50 calories for the same serving. Another example is sharp cheddar cheese, which can be as high as 120 calories for 28 grams. But, a cheese alternative, such as Kite Hill Ricotta (made with almond milk, instead of cow’s milk), is only 80 calories for the same serving size.
Sleep Your Calories Away
Sleep is where the recovery starts. Research has shown that ideally, you should get 5 consecutive REM (rapid eye movement) sleep cycles, which occur every 90 minutes. The way to ensure this is by adhering to a good “sleep hygiene” routine. Try to maintain the same sleep/rise time and not vary it by more than an hour. Decrease all stimuli at least 2 hours prior to desired sleep time. This includes exposure to electronic devices, bright lights, conversation (positive or negative) and physical activity. Try to intake your last liquids 2 hours prior to sleep, as well.
One of the many side effects of not getting a good night’s sleep is fatigue. And when the brain and body is fatigued, it searches for energy. Food and drink are energy!
So eat, drink, sleep and be merry – wisely!