Even if you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, chances are you’re already more than immersed in the vortex that is holiday eating. Through the haze of cookies, candy and really rich meals, you also are fully aware that January 1 is on the other side, just waiting to serve as your official “turning point” to get back on track. Registered dietician Angela Onsgard of Miraval Resort & Spa, offers these tips to stay on the straight and narrow.
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Listen to your body.
“Listening to your body is one of the best ways to aid weight loss and live a healthier life overall,” Onsgard says. “When enjoying a meal, eat slowly and pay attention to your body’s signals that indicate you’ve had enough to eat. Be sure to fully chew your food making sure you are paying attention to how each bite tastes, the texture of the food and how it makes your body feel. This ensures that you don’t overeat and helps you focus on actually enjoying your meal.”
Eat real food.If it grows on a plant, eat it. If it comes from a box, use your own good judgment. “It is important to make a conscious decision to eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole and intact grains, and high quality animal products such as eggs, poultry and wild caught fish. Not only does eating whole foods aid in weight loss but it reduces disease risk and improves mood.”
Make conscious food swaps.
Pretty much everyone experiences food cravings throughout the day, but Onsgard says it is important to properly identify what those cravings mean and how to combat them with healthy alternatives. “If you are craving salty foods like chips try sea salt rice crackers with hummus or wasabi soy nuts or roasted pumpkin seeds. To curb your sweet tooth, try a ripe pear with peanut butter, berries or peaches topped with granola and baked in a ramekin or mashed sweet potato with a bit of fresh squeezed orange juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon.”
Map out meals.You’ve probably heard this one before, but meal planning really does work. “Being prepared and thinking through your weekly schedule can cut the guesswork out of healthy eating. It’s not necessary to create a detailed weekly menu, but it is helpful to consider your schedule for the week ahead to prepare for days when you will have to eat out. If you have a plan in mind for the meals you will be eating at home, it reduces the daily stress surrounding dinner and makes it far less likely that you will make poor eating decisions.”
Make sleep a priority.
Onsgard says many people don’t associate sleep with weight loss but getting enough rest is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “Most adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. If you don’t get enough sleep, your hormones will be unbalanced causing you to feel constantly hungry and never satiated.”