Work on a hol­i­day eat­ing strat­egy

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FOOD - By LeeAnn Wein­traub

The an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of Hal­loween marks the un­of­fi­cial start to the hol­i­day eat­ing sea­son.

How we ap­proach th­ese ghoul­ish tricks and sweet treats can set the stage for the ei­ther naughty or nice eat­ing prac­tices that carry into the New Year. Adopt a hol­i­day food sur­vival plan now to help you sail into the New Year with no re­grets.

Of course, don’t let en­joy­ing a few Hal­loween treats scare you.

Just keep in mind that now is the ideal time to be proac­tive for your health. So, if you tend to make New Year’s res­o­lu­tions for bet­ter eat­ing or achiev­ing your ideal weight, take note.

The habits that lead up to that Jan­uary res­o­lu­tion are likely still up for ne­go­ti­a­tion right now. Be­fore you reach for an­other fun­size candy bar, con­sider com­mit­ting to start­ing out the New Year on the right track just a few months early.

This is the time to start the hol­i­day sea­son off early with con­scious ef­forts sur­round­ing food choices and ex­er­cise. A laid back at­ti­tude on splurg­ing on Hal­loween treats can set the stage for a lack of mind­ful­ness, overeat­ing and im­bal­ance with the fes­tiv­i­ties and hol­i­days yet to come.

Why go through the has­sle of gain­ing five or more pounds over the com­ing weeks just to have to work even harder to take them off, when you can be los­ing weight dur­ing the hol­i­days? Don’t lose mo­men­tum this hol­i­day sea­son.

Here are some strate­gies to achieve healthy eat­ing suc­cess dur­ing what are typ­i­cally the most chal­leng­ing months.

Re­al­ize your goals

Whether you want to lose weight or maybe lower your blood sugar lev­els, the first step to­wards suc­cess is defin­ing your goals. Cre­ate SMART (spe­cific, mea­sur­able, at­tain­able, rel­e­vant, and time-bound) goals that speak to you and be sure to write them down.

For ex­am­ple, want­ing to lose weight is not enough. How much weight do you want to lose, by what date and what is your plan of ac­tion?

Pri­or­i­tize fa­vorite foods

The key to be­ing on a suc­cess­ful hol­i­day eat­ing plan is to not feel deprived while be­ing able to par­tic­i­pate in the fes­tiv­i­ties, even when they cen­ter on food. You may want to make a men­tal note of a few sea­sonal fa­vorites you refuse to give up. Al­low­ing your­self to en­joy a spe­cial dessert or a tra­di­tional fam­ily recipe that only comes around once a year will give you the con­fi­dence to stick to your plan know­ing you won’t be left out.

This might mean com­pro­mis­ing on other less im­por­tant foods to cre­ate over­all bal­ance in your

eat­ing plan.

Por­tion size

This time of year food is a bit more deca­dent and large, fes­tive meals abound. There­fore, ig­nor­ing por­tion con­trol can be dis­as­trous. In fact, fo­cus­ing on smaller serv­ings can be the num­ber one thing that guides you suc­cess­fully through this chal­leng­ing time.

Eat to be sat­is­fied, not stuffed, on veg­eta­bles, lean pro­teins, and whole grains. A handy set of mea­sur­ing cups can be a use­ful tool for any­one try­ing to eat less.

Ex­er­cise

Be­come just as en­thu­si­as­ti­cally com­mit­ted to your fit­ness rou­tine as you are to your food plan. Set your­self up for suc­cess and con­sis­tency by choos­ing ex­er­cise what is con­ve­nient and en­joy­able. You are more likely to stick to your ex­er­cise plan if it is grat­i­fy­ing.

Try to sched­ule phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity into your day so it be­comes a habit, not a chore. If you plan to travel dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, make a plan to work­out even when your rou­tine is thrown off. Join friends or fam­ily for a walk or look into group fit­ness classes or sports to help you stay ac­tive while away from home.

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