I kept up my water intake – at least 48 oz every day
I planned my alcohol intake for parties – stuck to only 2 drinks per party with water in between.
I did better with a basic Sunday meal planning and food prep session
I continued to record everything I ate every single day – including on the days I just said “F-it” and ate everything in sight.
At the holiday meals, I could have one serving of everything, but no seconds of anything.
- We don’t usually drink enough water during the wintertime because our bodies want heating up, not cooling down. So I’m going to aim for 48 oz a day (during the summer, my average is 72 oz per day), not counting cups of hot tea.
- Between the stress or depression, the colder weather, and the parties, alcohol intake can go up a lot during the holidays – especially impulsive drinking. But we don’t usually think about the nutritionless calories it adds to our daily intake. Recently, I’ve been adding a glass of wine after dinner to my meal plans 2-3 nights a week to unwind. I’ve found that planning the nights I’ll have it helps me regulate how often I drink, but I don’t feel like I CAN’T have it. And if I don’t feel like it that night, I can skip it.
Meal Planning and Prep –
- My meal planning and preps have gotten increasingly simple this fall because I’ve been creating dinners that have a lot of leftovers. I don’t mind repeat dinners during the week and it also means I won’t have to cook every night during the week, so running errands after work will be less of a big deal. I can just zap leftovers when I get home. This means a lot of soup/stews, one-pot dinners, and low-carb casseroles on the plan.
- Every week, I prep two different breakfasts (Yogurt and cut up fruit or overnight oats) and two different lunches (chicken breast and veg bowls or a simple sandwich) for the week. During the holidays, I’ll probably include leftovers for lunches so it is one less thing for me to prep in advance on Sundays. Stews and casseroles zap really quickly at home or at work and still gives me a comfort food hit.
- The other meal plan/prep strategy is to plan to pick up stuff that’s mostly already prepared. Already cut fruit, pre-made salads and wraps, and frozen meals from Trader Joe’s. I’m also not above ordering a large pizza and dividing it up into zip lock bags for late night dinners. Also, I’ll be real about eating out during this time. I will probably choose two nights a week to eat out instead of one, but at places where I can make some moderately healthy choices in advance.
Recording what I Eat –
- I have a 545 day streak of logging my food in My Fitness Pal. If you think I’m not hitting 1000, you have another thing coming.
- And while I’m far less stressed out about going over my calorie goals now than I was a year ago, it still helps to see when I’m having a rough week in terms of making better food choices. I can still make adjustments as I go along.
No Seconds –
- One serving of everything, no seconds of anything. This was just a day-of holiday meal strategy last year, but it has become more commonplace these days. Last year, I noticed that I enjoyed all of the holiday meals, but didn’t feel overstuffed or uncomfortable, which was a novelty for me. Since I avoid going back for seconds more and more these days, we’ll stick with this one again this year.
THE LEVEL UP STRATEGY:
- Make my favorites and plan to have a small piece every night or every other night until it is gone. And then don’t make any more. I did this last year with fudge and I found that since I could have some every night and I planned for it, I didn’t want to gorge it. I just enjoyed it a little at a time.
- When other people offer sweets, choose to eat some ONLY if it is high-quality and among my ABSOLUTE favorites. Don’t eat the oatmeal raisin cookies just because my boss’ wife made them. Take them home. Toss them. Now, if she’s handing out Russian Tea Cakes, yes. Absolutely. Same thing with pumpkin pie. I really like pumpkin pie, but I don’t need to eat it once I’m sick of it just because it is in the fridge or on the office potluck table. Choose the sweets that are worth it and let the crappy store-bought cookies exist peacefully on their own.
Plan my week knowing that I’m going to eat what I want at the party. Add more vegetarian dinners during the week. I don’t usually eat snacks during the week, but I definitely avoid snacks if there’s a party this week. Leave a few bites behind on every dinner in the week before. Lower the general calorie intake so the party hit isn’t as big.
Don’t overstuff myself at the party. Yeah, this is hard. Here’s my strategy: 1 plate of savory food (or two if it is those small party plates). Choose stuff from the buffet that I know I really like, not stuff I’m meh about. One serving of dessert. Choose my fave. Two alcoholic beverages with water or club soda in between. This strategy has a few advantages. I am much more intentional about what I choose to put on that plate, so it tends to be better food. I tend to eat it more slowly and enjoy it more. I’m not stuffed and feel comfortable at the party. I get less drunk and have far less of a hangover the next day.