The holidays are around the corner. That may mean more time with family, more celebrations, and a lot of good food. It is also a time of the year when sticking to a healthy eating plan, moving your body daily, and keeping stress levels low can help you not overindulge and still enjoy the food, festivities and family. We interviewed Kelsey Patterson, a Registered Dietitian at Michigan State University Culinary Services, to gather tips for conquering holiday fatigue.
Sticking to a plan
Planning is a major key to conquering the holidays and all of the delicious food that comes with them. Journaling your foods was one recommendation from Kelsey, as it is one way to help you stick to a plan. Writing down what you are eating and the amounts can help cut back on too much snacking and help you pay attention to the amount of food you are consuming.
Another way to stick to a plan is to keep things normal. If you are used to eating 5 small meals a day, continue that routine on the day of holiday gatherings. Kelsey explained where people go wrong is they skip meals all day to go to the gathering with the intention to overindulge, and all of those excess calories go to storage. “Your body can only handle so many calories and the rest just go into storage, and that is where weight gain can happen.”
Keeping stress levels low
High levels of stress can push a lot of people to eating. Eating can be a coping mechanism for people to feel better about the things in life that are causing stress. Kelsey mentioned being aware of what your stressors are and finding ways to manage stress, like practicing relaxation techniques. This could be meditation, yoga, taking a walk, and eating healthy, balanced meals. These techniques are not only beneficial to your mental health, but to your overall physical health as well.
“Your body can only hold so many calories and the rest typically go to storage, so if you are consistently overconsuming food and not exercising, it could lead to weight gain,” Kelsey explained. Easing into an exercise routine is super important as well. Start by walking for thirty minutes 2 to 3 times a week and building up from there. Kelsey also mentioned there are tons of free apps with free exercise routines and highlighted the benefits of scheduling yourself times to work out. “If you build working out into your schedule like an appointment, you are more likely to show up and complete your workout,” Kelsey stated.