1) Get enough sleep. Aim for at least 7-8 hours per night. Sleep deprivation will not only increase fatigue but can lead to increased food cravings. Studies have shown lack of sleep can cause increased levels of ghrelin, a hunger hormone, and decreased levels leptin, satiety/fullness hormone. So get that beauty rest!
2) Eat a balanced breakfast containing whole grains, a healthy fat, and some protein. This is essential to keeping blood sugars balanced, energy levels high, and mood swings in check. Don’t skip breakfast in an attempt to “save” calories for later because all this does is cause an overly ravenous appetite which usually leads to overeating.
3) Fit in some physical activity. Stick to your normal exercise routine as much as possible. But for the days when that isn’t going to fly, plan to move your body some in way for 20-30 minutes: go for a walk, stretch, have a dance party. Fresh air and movement will leave you feeling refreshed and energized which we all need with shorter days and busy schedules.
4) Drink up… water that is. Staying hydrated is essential for optimal energy and appetite control. If you are drinking alcohol aim to have a glass of water before and after your beverage of choice. Add a slice of a citrus fruit, cucumber, or ginger to spruce things up.
5) Last but not least, enjoy your food and the people around you! When it comes to food, if you don’t love something, don’t put it on your plate. Remember the saying quality over quantity? Well this applies to the way we eat. I am not big into deprivation so I don’t have a list of specific foods or beverages to avoid like the plague. Why? Because eating is flexible and it’s not the end of the world if you get off track a day or two. Pay attention to your satiety, appreciate your meals, and enjoy treats as desired. The holidays may be centered around delicious meals and beverages but keep in mind these are not the only things to embrace during the season. Holidays are about having fun, spending time with loved ones, and expressing gratitude.
Have a great holiday!