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7 tips to keep you healthy and lean this holiday season

Nov 19, 2018
By Karyn Forsyth Duggan
Thanksgiving Table

Updated November 19, 2018.

The holiday season is here! If you’re like most people, you have less time to work out and more sweet treats and buffet tables tempting you at every turn, but you don’t have to view this time as a test of your willpower. To stay fit and healthy throughout the holiday season, it’s important to be prepared. Here are seven, nutritionist-approved tricks of the trade to help you stay the course and stay healthy.

1. Eat healthy, balanced meals

Well-balanced meals will help you feel full, which is essential if you want to resist unhealthy party food. You might think that it’s better to save up your calories for a party by eating less during the day, but that’s actually a recipe for failure. You can’t go to a party hungry and expect divine intervention to help keep you in control. Give yourself a chance to stay on track by eating well-balanced meals and a healthy snack before going to a party.

A healthy, balanced meal should consist of a lean protein, a small portion of healthy fat, and fiber-rich carbohydrates. To learn more about how to create a well-balanced meal, take a look at our example of a healthy plate.

2. Stay hydrated

You might feel hungry when you’re merely dehydrated. To figure out how much water you should drink in a day, take your body weight and divide it in half — that’s how many fluid ounces you should consume. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim to consume approximately 75 fluid ounces of water throughout the day.

3. Eat regularly — and often

If you skip a meal, sampling the cookies that your colleague brought is almost guaranteed. Eat a healthy breakfast within an hour or two of waking and plan to eat something about every four hours thereafter.

If your breakfast is at 8:00 a.m., then lunch should be around noon. Better yet — have a small, healthy snack to tide you over between breakfast and lunch. This will minimize your risk of over-eating or of making poor choices when lunchtime comes around. Do the same thing between lunch and dinner.

4. Avoid late-night eating

It’s also important to avoid eating approximately two hours before bed. Your metabolism slows when you’re asleep. When you allow enough time for digestion before bed, you reduce your chance of digestive upset, and studies suggest that you’ll minimize your risk for weight gain, too.

5. Exercise early

Exercise is energizing, so it makes sense to do it earlier rather than later in the day. Getting your exercise in early is especially important during the holidays when parties and activities will make it difficult to hit the gym after work.

6. Try mindful eating

This tip comes late in the list because it can be difficult to practice mindful eating if you haven’t already mastered the other tactics. Mindful eating helps you become more aware of how much you’re eating, how tasty the food is, and whether you’re actually hungry. Take the time to learn how to eat mindfully and use this skill to your advantage. Take a look at 5 Tips to Curb Cravings for more on this topic.

7. Relax and enjoy!

Emotional eating tends to increase over the holidays, so you might try incorporating relaxation techniques into your day to help manage stress. Even something as simple as taking three deep, mindful breaths can help reset your mood.

It’s also more difficult to eat well if you feel deprived by your current eating plan. Use these tactics to make healthy lifestyle changes instead of trying to stick to any particular type of ‘diet.’  Trust that these tips will help you stay on track and allow you to focus on the most important part of the holidays — relaxing and enjoying the festivities with your family and friends.

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Karyn Forsyth Duggan

Personalized nutrition consultations are Karyn’s specialty. Her approach is based on her innate ability to meet her clients wherever they’re at. She has been in practice for 11 years: 2 years of private practice and, most recently, 9 years with One Medical. Karyn has completed all advanced practice modules with the Institute of Functional Medicine and can clarify optimum dietary and lifestyle approaches specific to your health status. As a certified natural chef, Karyn can cite recipes on the fly and provide menu plans and practical tips to ensure you’re truly enjoying making healthy food choices. She studied with behavior design guru Dr. B. J. Fogg to understand how best to facilitate behavior change — a vital tactic for clients who know exactly what they should do but have difficulty implementing their best intentions. Healthy shouldn’t be hard. Karyn makes it easy and convenient and works with clients remotely, so rather than having to get yourself to an appointment, she can "meet" you in your office or your kitchen — wherever you’re at and whatever’s easiest for you. For more information please visit karynforsythduggan.com and/or e-mail karyn@karynforsythduggan.com

The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, a national, modern primary care practice pairing 24/7 virtual care services with inviting and convenient in-person care at over 100 locations across the U.S. One Medical is on a mission to transform health care for all through a human-centered, technology-powered approach to caring for people at every stage of life.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. 1Life Healthcare, Inc. and the One Medical entities make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.