The holidays can be a deadly time when it comes to weight management. Here are a few ways to keep your bad holiday habits in check.

Be conscious of over-indulgences. Without even recognizing it you probably overindulge at least once per day. We justify it by saying it was a one time thing, or the one time that week. Then tomorrow rolls around, and the next day, and sooner or later you may realize that everyday you chose to grab a cupcake at work for a coworkers birthday, or consume a pint of ice cream because it was tempting you in the freezer. An honest food journal can really assist in remaining conscious of those choices you make, and help you realize when you’ve hit your limit of overindulgences.

Don’t finish everything. As a child I was always told to finish everything on my plate, and while that philosophy is a great one when it comes to vegetables, during the holidays our choices tend to include a few things other than spinach, kale, and carrots. It may seem wasteful to not finish all your food, but sometimes the trash is where food belongs more than in your stomach. Plus, who doesn’t love some delicious leftovers? As humans we are not immune to cravings, but when you want that giant chocolate chip cookie simply ask yourself, “Do I need this whole thing?” and “Would half of it satisfy me?”. I know you really want the whole thing, and perhaps the whole pan of cookies, but try to stick with just enough to satisfy you, not stuff you. I commonly eat too much simply because it is there in front of me. Don’t fall victim to that.

Keep a good plate ratio. If you are filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables each meal, you will automatically keep calorie consumption in check, while forcing some good nutritious food into the mix as well. If you want to go back for seconds, remember the same policy remains. Aim for at least half of your plate to be produce, a quarter to be lean meat, and a quarter or less to be grains (preferable whole grains). Such a simple concept can hugely change how you eat every meal. And remember, eat your veggies first!

Don’t make excuses for not exercising. The holidays are a busy time for just about everyone, and just because a certain month rolls around doesn’t mean that exercise suddenly becomes optional. Stress levels tend to rise as the year comes to an end, and one of the best remedies for stress is to break a sweat, and get in a good workout. Plus with so many treats lying around during the holidays a little extra calorie burn can be exactly what you need.

Don’t make excuses in general. No, I don’t expect you to eat clean all day, every day during the holiday season, but don’t make the time of year a reason to let your health slide. There is no reason you need to wait until January 1st to start making healthy choices, there is no better time than the present! Starting today try to think of one thing to focus on each day to make better choices. Get your sleep, veggies, fiber, whatever it may be, set a goal for the day, and stick to it. Great change can come over time from small little tweaks.

Get up and move. When it all boils down to it, you just need to keep yourself moving. Every day you take off makes it that much harder to get up and going again. Go for walks, do yoga or explore a new trail. Just get up, get out, and get moving.

Becca Capell
iFit Head Trainer