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Happy holidaysImage courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Holidays are here – and one of the biggest issues our clients face is how to balance all the enjoyment the season offers with healthy food choices. Whether you’re on our weight loss plan – or you need to stay committed to your own healthy habits this Season, let’s talk about how you can do just that!

Here are 7 tried-and-true tips that will help you stay aligned with your health goals this Season and beyond…

1. Plan your meals. We’ve talked about this before, but planning is so key to successful weight loss that it deserves top mention on this list. Remember how it’s often said that when you’re about to have an all-important conversation with someone, you should write down what you want to say ahead of time so that you’re prepared?

Well, this same concept is what makes planning your meals such an effective strategy. When you plan and know ahead of time, you’re less likely to fall into the trap of overeating or eating something unhealthy.

Don’t stop there – plan ahead for different scenarios – for instance, what you’ll say when your favorite but pushy aunt tries to get you to have a slice of her famous dessert, or how you’ll respond when you happen upon your all-time favorite holiday goody.

2. Lose the loose clothes. Now there’s a tongue-twister! Seriously though, this can be an effective solution when you’re tempted to sneak a treat at your next social event. Just because your clothes are more form-fitting doesn’t mean they can’t be flattering, too.

Experiment with different styles, fits, and colors to find the garments that look best on you. And when you wear clothes that are snug, muses WebMD author Kathleen M. Zelman, “…you’ll be too busy holding in your stomach to overeat.”

3. Get your mind off food. Think about this for a minute: Someone tells you, “Don’t think about the Statue of Liberty.” What do you do? If you’re like most people, you already have an image in your mind of the Statue of Liberty. The same goes for food – if you keep telling yourself, “I can’t eat this” or “I don’t think about food”, you’ll have to eat on your brain all the time.

Instead, strike up a conversation with someone if you’re at a public event. If you’re home, delve into a task that you’ve been meaning to accomplish. In essence – do something that gets your mind or body (preferably both) active.

4. Ditch the alcohol. Actually, it isn’t just alcohol that contains mega-calories. Be careful of almost any beverage, in particular, soft drinks and those with a high sugar content. And, excessive consumption of sugary drinks over time can lead to a host of other problems, including tooth decay and gastrointestinal complaints. Try quenching your thirst with plain water instead.

5. Stay focused on the present moment. When you are eating, be present. It’s helpful to step away from anything that might serve as a distraction. When you’re distracted by something – it could be the TV, your phone, another person, even your dog – it’s easy to quickly consume far more than you really need.

If you can’t totally eliminate the distraction, no problem…just bring yourself into a strong level of awareness so that you can remain mindful of what you’re eating. Paying attention to the smell, texture, and taste of your food is an easy way to start being more aware.

6. Be mindful of color. Did you know that certain colors may stimulate your appetite, while others suppress it? Reds and yellows, for example, are often incorporated into restaurant decor. Why? While both colors are considered to be full of life and energy, red is the “intense” color, while yellow is thought to increase focus. Pretty clever, huh? Nothing like an increased focus on food to throw your healthy eating plans off kilter.

Tip: Grays, blacks, blues, and browns decrease appetite. If you haven’t already, try incorporating a sophisticated black plate or two into your dinnerware selection and see what results you get!

7. Take a time-out. Most of us feel stretched pretty thin, especially during the holidays when we have to combine our regular schedule with the craziness of the season. You might be working long hours so you can get everything done before a vacation. Or you might just be trying to keep up with the daily grind. Whatever the case, you need time just for you.

Plan a segment of time – even if it’s just 15 minutes – to escape the hustle and bustle. When you take a time-out for yourself, you’ll be better able to serve everyone else, too – so it’s a win-win!

Integrate one or two – or all of these easy tips – and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your healthiest, happiest Holiday season yet!

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