The holidays are a wonderful time of year. Enjoying time with friends, family and experiencing all of the beautiful sights and sounds of the season can really give you a warm and comforting feeling.
For some people, however, it can be a time to hole up at home and hide. Depression is a common feeling during the holiday. Despite all of the beauty and the togetherness, stress blankets it. With stress, comes eating. With eating, comes broken diets and depression when the scales start to hit new heights and clothes start to fit a bit tighter.
If you feel this way around the holidays, the good news is that you can take action to keep yourself from depression during the holidays. By following a few simple healthy holiday eating tips, that many nutritionists follow themselves, you can make it through with your diet intact and stress levels low.
Eat Before You Party
Before you hit the holiday party scene, eat some nuts, cheese or a whole grain snack, which will curb your appetite. That way, when you get to the eating event, you won’t want to scarf down everything in sight.
Exercise One Hour Per Day
Just because the holidays are a busy time of year doesn’t mean you should cut down on the exercise. Continue to exercise and you’ll decrease your stress levels during this time of year by increasing your endorphins, which lifts your mood. Feeling better will keep you from eating for comfort and it will also burn calories so you don’t gain that average pound that most Americans gain during the holidays, according to the Huffington Post.
Eat All in Moderation
You can eat everything but not all of it. Take a little of this and a little of that just for a taste. The idea is to not deprive yourself. Depriving yourself will only make your stress levels rise and get to a point where you’ll want to indulge when you can’t take it anymore.
Find Additional Coping Strategies
If you suffer from depression this time of year, use alternative coping strategies. Rather than using eating as a coping habit, do something relaxing such as a getting a massage or spend a few hours at the spa.
Watch What You Drink
Most people don’t realize that what they drink has as many calories as desserts. If you’re drinking alcoholic beverages, watch the mixed drinks and wine, they often have the most calories.
Eat Fat to Keep You from Fat
Yes, that’s right, eat fat. You want to eat some fat because without it you're likely to carbo load. Carbs are often the substitute for fats when people are dieting, according to Gay Riley, MS, RD, CCN.
Eat More Protein
Increasing your protein intake before going to a party will also help you eat less. You can drink a protein shake, eat something high in protein or take a protein supplement.
Fill Up on Water
If your stomach is full you’ll be less likely to eat as much. So be sure to down your recommended daily dose of water and more if you’ve been feeling stressed and depressed because of the holidays. Your body uses more water when dealing with stressors and the increased intake will help your weight management goals.
Don’t like water? Researchers have found that green tea helps the body burn more calories and that will help you burn fat. So instead of just settling for plain water, make some green tea to flavor it.
Avoid Treats at Home
Don’t add insult to injury. While you may have a treat or two at home throughout the year, cut that out during the holidays. You’ll have that replacement when you’re out at friends and family. Keep your home a healthy-only zone.
Getting Back on Track
The holidays are a time to enjoy yourself. You’ve worked hard all year and you deserve some time to reward yourself for that. If you do indulge, don’t be too hard on yourself. The harder you are on yourself, the worse you’ll treat yourself and that might result in additional unhealthy eating. Just get back to healthy eating as quickly as possible. You may want to use a weight loss aid and rev up your exercise regimen to make up some for some of the fun you’ve had. It’s okay though, life is about balance and as long as are good to yourself, life will be good to you.
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