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Holiday Eating Survival Guide: That Was Easy

I remember many years ago that my yearly downfall seemed to start around Halloween, with all the stupid little candies. They would be at the office before Halloween, then after, plus the leftovers you had at home and then the ones that were like 95% off at the store that made them seem irresistible.

From there, it seemed like we were already halfway through November; and the holiday parties were on the horizon. Efforts to "go to the gym" more often were always on my mind, but life gets busier, and then I just started to feel guilty for not eating better and not getting to the gym as often, which just adds stress to the whole situation (on top of regular stress, and holiday stress. Fun.)

Holiday Feasting

Enter the tipping point where you just start to not give a f*** because you tell yourself you're going to fix it all and be a new person in January. Yeah! You start to feel better because of this new resolution and you actually fall off the wagon even more by forgetting activity exists, and eating whatever is in front of your face. "January is coming soon, and I won't be able to have any of this" you tell yourself. "I deserve to enjoy myself in preparation for my deprivation!"

There are so many things are wrong with the above scenario, and I'd like to share 6 insights with you to keep you off that awful, self destructive path. And I'll keep it really simple, because it is. And no, I don't tell you how to eat at your parties. Booyah!

1. Eat an excellent breakfast. Studies show time and time again that people who skip breakfast or have a high glycemic breakfast (think sweets, bagels) eat way more the rest of the day than they would have with a protein rich, satisfying breakfast. Have some eggs, quinoa porridge, oatmeal/GF oatmeal/oat bran/rice bran with a piece of fruit and some nuts, plain greek yogurt with fruit (2% fat minimum - yes you read that right), or flaxseed bread with almond butter. LOTS of options!

2. Have quality snacks on you at all times. I keep my USANA protein bars in my desk, in my purse and in my car. You have no idea how many times this has saved me from starvation which in turn results in buying something crappy from the closest place I can find. It satisfies me long enough to get home, or at least find a place to eat where I can make a rational decision about my food.

3. Have meal replacement shakes* in your fridge. For those days where you're rushing from place to place, sometimes you have to rush out, and you need something more filling than a bar to tide you over for a few hours. If you have a few pre-made shakes in the fridge, you can grab one, and even take one or two with you in a little cooler bag for the road. Part 2 of this tip is to have individual serving packets that just need you to add water, shake it up and you're done. I have these in my desk at work along with a shaker bottle; you can take them on the road as well if you know you'll have access to water (preferably cold) at your destination You might be going to a business conference or seminar. I use these shakes.

*meal replacement shakes are NOT protein shakes. An excellent quality meal replacement shake has the right ratio of carbs, protein and fat to keep you full and satisfied with proper nutrition. A protein shake tends to be simply protein heavy without consideration of balanced nutrition.

4. If you know you're going to feast at some point in the day (whether you go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner), make your other choices good ones. Here is where meal replacement shakes* also shine because they are easy on your whole digestive system which helps balance out the gorging you do at other times. If you're going for lunch, have a shake for breakfast. Big dinner planned? Make breakfast AND lunch a shake. You get the point.

5. Stay hydrated. You've heard this a million times before, but I'll say it again since we may know a lot of things, but we don't actually do them. Always have a water bottle with you, and reach for that before you reach for food. And don't be drinking juice (unless it's fresh cold pressed), or pop. WATER.

6. Move as much as possible. Notice I didn't say go to the gym. The gym is not for everyone, and it certainly is not the only way to stay active and fit. If you keep yourself in that box, you won't do it. If you already like going to the gym or your yoga studio, keep doing that. There are so many other ways to get in activity, like taking the stairs, going for a walk on your coffee or lunch breaks, walking around shopping instead of online (what??) , plan a walk with a friend. How about adding a walk to your plans? If you have a lunch date, see if you can go for a walk afterwards or before. How about going dancing? Bike ride on the nicer days? Snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding? Don't forget to live life and have fun while the season is happening.

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