Tips for Managing Your Diet During the Holidays

It's official. Thanksgiving is behind us, which can mean only one thing: Christmas is here! With the semester coming to an end and the arrival of the holidays, you deserve to rest. Eating amazing home-cooked meals and desserts, belting out the classics that make you dance, watching your favorite series, finishing that one book you started at the beginning of the semester, sharing with the loved ones, or just putting your life in order, whatever you do, you’ll be surrounded by the holiday cheer. 

There are a few things to be said about the eating part, though. Break up with your routine, as eating more than usual and becoming best buddies with your bed or sofa could put your health in danger a few weeks after the holidays. For some reason, social media is flooded with memes describing how many extra pounds you’ll be starting the year with. Yes, it’s okay to laugh at them, but it’s also important to watch your diet and maintain healthy habits. 

Christmas sugar cookies Photo by Jonathan Meyer from Pexels Eating at the same times every day will help you to maintain a stable diet. It doesn’t matter if you take your breakfast at 6:00AM and lunch at 12PM, or if you wake up and don’t eat until 10AM, because everyone has an individual lifestyle. What’s more important is to follow your own routine even between the celebrations you’ll participate in. Your biological clock marks a time when to eat and it’s true that if you’re hungry, you’ll just eat, but you need to figure out the difference between real hunger and eating because of anxiety or boredom. Despite following a routine, studies say that consuming more calories in the morning has more benefits than overeating at night because of the energy pattern. It could be a challenge for people who are not “morning people” at all because if you sleep at 2AM, you can’t pretend your body will have the energy to digest oatmeal with fruits at 7AM, but you can still try to maintain a routine where you eat at the same time every day.

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Another problem is how we get used to doubling our portions. When you eat more than you should in a single meal, you increase the possibility of your stomach getting used to consuming those bigger quantities and to continue asking for them. Also, you may ingest too many calories and unnecessary toxins for your body that may harm you in the end. One of the most discussed explanations for these bigger portions is that, over the past decades, the sizes of utensils such as plates, glasses, and the spoons with which we serve our food have increased in size, motivating our minds to think that if the plate is not full, it is not enough. Some factors such as advertising may support this. 

Now, some restaurants sell you the big portions as an incentive to share it with someone else, or simply eat it alone because “you deserve it,” but what happens when this becomes the norm? 

Another factor that intervenes when setting up a stable diet is your culture or the way you grew up, but as experiences are added to your life, you may have a hard time trying to remain at a healthy weight. That being said, take into consideration what you need to feel satisfied and keep going with your daily activities, keeping in mind the amount of time that remains until your next meal, and your body’s proportions (weight and height, among other considerations). 

Bowl of colourful food Photo by Edgar Castrejon from Unsplash A third tip, and maybe the most difficult one to practice, is to remain physically active. This does not mean that, after finishing a delicious bowl of seasoned mashed potatoes with a side of bean salad and fresh vegetables, you have to begin a Just Dance routine; but it's important to maintain an active workout routine that allows you to burn what your body may not need.

Having an active lifestyle helps reduce the risk of physical and emotional illnesses. You don’t need to start two hours per day. Instead, listen to your body. You may start with just 30 minutes per day; or one day doing exercise, one day of rest; or maybe switching up the intensity of the exercises every week. Whatever you decide to do, don’t ask your body to do more than it can, but also don’t stay in bed 24 hours a day because this may become a problem when you need it to be active. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains more on this topic here. Include an exercise routine in your life. There are dozens to choose from, from dancing to sports—it’s up to you!

Tennis Shoes And Water Bottle Her Campus Media

Remember that these tips aren’t strict, binding rules. It's valid to break the "rules" sometimes because yes, you do deserve it. But the problems start  when you become careless, when you let yourself go by thinking that “tomorrow” you’ll fix it. Let’s apply these and more tips to our lifestyle, share them with family and friends, and practice these habits even after the holidays. Work with what's best for you and stay healthy. Happy Holidays!