Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Starting with the minute I buy the Halloween candy each year until the last Easter basket is packed away, holiday temptations conspire to keep me from sticking to my healthy eating habits. One year, I tried to only buy sweet treats I wouldn’t eat. The kids were not pleased with the lack of chocolate.

Over the years, I’ve figured out some tips to survive:

1. Be realistic. Expect to gain a few pounds around the holidays. By allowing yourself a little leeway (not a consumption free-for-all, just a little loosening), then you won’t be too discouraged to continue working toward your goals

2. Allow yourself a little indulgence. You don’t need to eat half your kids’ candy to protect them, but missing grandma’s Pumpkin Pie? No way! And remember, sometimes a little taste of what you love, savored slowly, will satisfy you as much as a larger portion scarfed down.

3. Plan extra exercise time. At the end of the day, maintaining your weight requires you to burn as many calories as you consume, so if you choose to indulge a bit, balance it with a longer walk through the park or an extra run on the treadmill.

4. Don’t waste calories on alcohol. The holidays aren’t just about great food but often about special drinks, and from spiked egg nog to hot buttered rum it can be tough to resist the delicious concoctions. Alcohol, however, has two detrimental issues when it comes to weight management: your body burns alcohol calories first, which means the pumpkin pie is going to sit there and be turned into fat; and most alcohol is high in calories (a margarita has more than 500 calories), leaving less room for indulging. Skip the drinks (or at least the second one).

5. Drink plenty of water. Not only will it help pare down your appetite when you’re finally in front of the feast but it will help you keep your energy up and keep your skin clear.

There’s no escaping the holidays, but these five tips can help you survive without having to completely let go of your healthy eating habits.