As we are nearing Thanksgiving, instead of ditching your healthy eating habits until January, create a balanced strategy to help avoid that dreaded weight gain. I have been saying to all of my clients this week to focus on incorporating healthy foods and habits versus just letting everything go for the next month and a half. With all of the stress of this season, having a well-fueled body can really help to get you through the day. Think about how much better you may function/feel with a good night's sleep and well-balanced breakfast? One thing is for sure is that this can definitely help you to walk away from tempting treats versus if you skimped on the healthy food when you woke up.
I don't think of the holidays as a time to be super stringent with your healthy diet. I mean, in all honesty, that is why I promote a healthy lifestyle versus a quick-fix-diet because of the fact that you can splurge every once in a while and not feel guilty for "going off your diet." It would be unrealistic to say to someone to avoid every sweet and treat at holiday dinners and parties.
So, what does a healthy lifestyle look like during the holidays then? It starts with realistic expectations. Don't say to yourself that you are going to aim for a 10-pound weight-loss from now until January if you KNOW that you probably won't reach that. All that does is set yourself up for failure and disappointment. Instead, try and focus on weight maintenance. Another realistic expectation may be to keep up with your gym or walking routine or continue to eat veggies and fruits every day (if you already are doing this consistently). It is hard enough to change your habits, let alone making major changes during the stress of the holidays.
Also, trying aiming for meal balance when you go to parties or settle down for dinner. Try to incorporate 1/4 of your plate as lean protein (turkey, chicken, fish, beans, tofu), 1/4 as whole grains/starchy (brown rice, quinoa, potatoes with the skin on, etc) and 1/2 as non-starchy veggies (broccoli, asparagus, salad, cauliflower, green beans, brussels sprouts, etc). If you know your having stuffing and mashed potatoes, try skipping the extra carbs in the rolls. Try really slowing down your meal and enjoying what is on your plate. Practice portion control with smaller scoops and plates. You can always go back for more later.
If your not in charge of the cooking this year, try just bringing a healthy side or dessert. You can still enjoy what is offered; however, at least you know you have one healthy option to fall back on. Something like veggies and hummus or fresh fruit with a light dip can be a quick and simple alternative. Don't go crazy trying complicated and new "healthy" recipes. Even doing simple swaps like brown rice for white rice in a casserole or plain Greek yogurt for sour cream, or using 1/4c less sugar in baking and adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract can all add up!
In the end, remember that the holiday season is about being with family/friends, not just the tasty food. To be your best self, you need to fuel your body properly and maybe even spending a little time recharging those batteries (i.e. sleeping more, going for a walk, reading, taking a long bath, etc)!