If you ask someone to describe the holiday season, the word “busy” will definitely come up. While the hustle and bustle with loved ones can be fun, it can also be stressful. Your daily routine is harder to maintain and of course the large amount of parties can negatively impact your eating patterns.

How do you find balance between enjoying traditional ethnic foods, keeping active, maintaining your weight, and fulfilling all your obligations? You take ownership of your actions by preparing for situations in advance so that you can be in control.

Below are guidelines to help you maintain control and to feel empowered during the next few weeks. You’re not alone in the anxiety that surrounds these situations. Be prepared, and stick to your game plan.

Parties:

  • Should you say no to Mom’s homemade cookies? Nope! Eat one, enjoy every second of it, and don’t bring any home.
  • Monitor your alcohol. Have one drink and make it last an hour. Follow that one drink with a water or sparkling water (sugar free). Stick to hard alcohol and avoid mixed drinks with syrups/juices. Two drinks max. For real. Read that again… TWO DRINKS MAX.
  • The party is buffet style and you tend to go overboard in these situations… Use a small plate. Wait until everyone is ready to eat; don’t graze before hand. Fill your first plate with veggies and salads. Drink one glass of water after consuming this plate. The second plate is for protein and more veggies. Keep starchy carbs to a minimum. There is no third plate.
  • If it’s a tapas type of party in which you will be grazing, eat a green apple, some greens and a piece of cheese an hour before arriving so you’re not starving upon arrival. Use a small plate and fill it with veggies and protein. Avoid breads and dips.
  • When you’re done with your plate, throw it away. If you keep it, you’ll be more likely to pile more food on it. Wait 15 minutes before getting another plate. Always eat off a plate. If you pick items from a tray and pop them in your mouth you’ll never know how much food you’re consuming.
  • Get out of the kitchen (or wherever the food is)! If you’re at a house party, invite your friends to chat with you in the living room, or outside.
  • If drinking wine ask for a small, white wine glass vs. the larger red wine glass.
  • Don’t fast during the day so you can eat a large meal for dinner. Your body can’t handle 2,000 calories at one time!

Office and Errands:

  • Leftovers are often brought into the office and left in the break-room. If this happens at your office, avoid that room. When you take a break, go for a walk instead of sitting down in that room.
  • Increase your physical activity by taking three 10-minutes walks during your workday.
  • Eat before you go shopping, this will limit the desire to grab a sugary drink at Starbucks. Keep ¼ cup of almonds in your bag in case your trip goes longer than expected. If you need to eat on the go, make sure you don’t drink your calories. If you need to purchase something at Starbucks, get a salad or bento box. At the food court, stick to proteins with veggies and water, no soda.

Workout Bar and other modes of exercise:

  • Plan your week out in advance. Let’s face it, the evening workout peeps are most negatively impacted because all of events happen in the evening. If you know you’re going to be busy in the evening, plan to take an early morning class. Commit to it by registering for class a week before.
  • Partner up with a friend who will hold you accountable to attending class.
  • Use your Fitbit or phone to track your steps at the mall. Aim for one mile of walking on each trip. If you’re done shopping and haven’t reached it, keep going!
  • We are lucky to live in Southern California where you can walk to see all the beautiful holiday lights strung on neighbors’ houses! For those of you from colder climates, you can remember doing this in your car, right? Spend 30 minutes after dinner walking with your family and enjoying the beauty of your neighborhood.

And after all that, remember to be thankful for all the blessings in your life and for your health!.