Tis the season! The crisp Autumn air, colorful leaves, and pumpkin-scented everything leaves you feeling nostalgic for the holidays and hungry for a slice of freshly baked, apple-oozing pie. It tastes so good in the moment and your “feel good” hormones are exploding in buttery delight. You eat a slice with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream only to want another…and then another…and before you know it, you’re finishing off the pie just to get it out of your house. You now feel terrible. You’re bloated. Your guilt is running high, and you feel like you’ve further buried yourself into a pit of gluttony madness.
This doesn’t have to be you.
It is possible to enjoy the holidays without overconsuming and later feeling terrible from the inside out. Use these tips and tricks to help you survive the Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feast and Christmas cookies!
- Set your intention in advance. Much of our overconsumption is because we fail to set our intentions prior to being surrounded by our favorite foods. Before you attend a holiday party, decide: Is tonight the night I want to splurge? If your answer is cloudy, you’re not mentally in a place to overindulge. Overindulging isn’t due to being hungry; it’s a function of the emotions associated with your favorite treats. Commit to keeping your fingers out of your kid’s Halloween candy or having “just one cookie.” Once you can mentally commit to it, tell someone, and you’ll notice how much easier it is to resist your temptations.
- Find the right portion-sized plate and utensils. If that evening IS the day you want to splurge a little bit, and you’re feeling in control of both your emotions and actions – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a sweet treat or two. Depriving yourself completely will only set you back. Grab an appetizer plate instead of an entrée-sized plate to limit your portions. Use the first tip of setting your intentions in advance to commit to one plate, only! You can also use a kid-sized spoon or fork instead of adult-sized. This will force you to eat slower and take smaller bites. Lastly, choose the treats that are smaller in size. Go for the mini pumpkin cupcake instead of the full-sized cupcake. Remember, your cravings are not a function of being hungry; you’re simply craving the taste, so satisfy the craving with a bite and move on.
- Find healthy alternatives. There are hundreds of healthy alternatives and recipes to your favorite treats. Use powdered peanut butter instead of peanut butter. Add protein powder while baking. Swap sugar for Stevia. Chances are, you’re not the only one who craves peanut butter balls over the holidays. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Start with these holiday-themed healthy recipes and see what you think! It may take your palette 4-5 times to be satisfied with this replacement, but once you do, the original version won’t be a craving any longer.
- Drink a glass of water in between every indulgence. Whether you’re hungry or thirsty, the same message and trigger is being sent to your brain. Usually, you’re just thirsty but because eating is more enjoyable, we often opt to interpret those messages as “I’m hungry. I should eat.” When you stay hydrated, you are eliminating this factor. By drinking water in between sweet treats and second servings, you’re not only staying hydrated, but you’re slowing down your consumption and filling your stomach with water to reduce hunger messages. The average American gains about five pounds over the holidays. That’s an excess 17,500 calories! Defy this trend and indulge in a controlled manner.
- Convert your sweet treats into burpees. Hey, whatever works, right?! Ask yourself, “How bad do I want that Snickers bar?” Is it worth 20 minutes of non-stop burpees? If it is, eat away! Be intentional about what you eat and drink. On average, with high intensity interval training, like what we specialize in at Burn Boot Camp, you burn about 10 calories per minute. Look at the nutrition label or scan the item into My Fitness Pal to see just how many calories you’re about to consume. The facts alone may steer you clear of your second serving or an oversized portion of peach cobbler. Here are a few, fun conversions to help you keep “mindful eating” top of mind:
1 Chocolate Chip Cookie = 8 minutes of burpees
1 Peanut Butter Chocolate Ball = 11 minutes of burpees
1 Bag of Skittles = 25 minutes of burpees
1 Sundae = 28 minutes
1 Slice of Pumpkin Pie = 31 minutes of burpees
1 Grande Pumpkin Spiced Latte = 38 minutes of burpees
1 King Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Package = 40 minutes of burpees
1 Slice of Carrot Cake = 47 minutes of burpees
With all this said, it’s important to remember that regardless of the holidays, it’s normal to have setbacks or indulge in our favorite treats. You’re human! We all have very different relationships and emotional associations with foods, so one person’s technique for staying in control may not be the technique that works for you. Play around with the tips above and see what resonates for you specifically. Don’t expect to be perfect or give up your favorite holiday treats completely. Eat in a controlled manner with intention. Be aware of what you’re doing and the effects it may have on your body and mind. Reaching your fitness goals comes from consistency – not from being perfect on Halloween night or Thanksgiving Day. Focus your energy on what you’re eating year-round, so you can splurge a little over the holidays! Visit www.burnbootcamp.com for additional recipe ideas, healthy tips and tricks, or to join our community at your local Burn Boot Camp!
Burn Boot Camp is a nationwide boutique health and fitness franchise. We are a high intensity, 45-minute circuit style workout that focuses on empowering women of all fitness levels. Co-ed camps are offered at select camps. Burn Boot Camp leverages various training styles and formats to keep workouts creative and challenging, while never doing the same workout twice. We use a combination of burst and strength training, as well as combination of body weight movements and equipment. We offer complimentary childcare, nutrition guidance, one-on-one focus meetings with the personal trainer, and a community like no other – all helping our members reach their fitness goals. We work with each person individually to understand their goals, challenges, and motivations to create accountability and a full lifestyle transformation.