10/19/2014 02:21 EDT | Updated 12/19/2014 05:59 EST

Six Survival Tips To Get You Through Eating Season

For some reason, the beginning of the eating season starts, at least for Canadians, around Thanksgiving. It lasts until after New Years, when those who indulged maybe a bit too much (sound familiar?) suddenly feel the urge to hit the gym and revert back to (or start) a 'clean eating' diet.

There are lots of 'eating events' starting in October. Thanksgiving, Halloween, then holiday parties, Christmas, New Years... but why trash your eating habits in the name of a few passing holidays? Keep yourself on track with these tips.

Don't Make Excuses

After 15 years of practice, I can spot an excuse, especially a lame one, from a mile away. Lots of people make excuses for eating more during the holidays, but there really isn't an excuse for continuously abusing your body with too much food and too little exercise. If you overindulge, own it, and move on. Don't continue to stuff yourself with food and laze on the couch.

Plan Ahead

If you know that you'll be hitting a fun get-together later in the day, make sure you make lots of healthy choices before you go. Don't starve yourself, which may lead to overeating right when you don't want to - when you're staring at a ton of food choices at the event. Have a high-protein snack like some turkey breast, hard boiled egg, or some 2% Greek yogurt with nuts before you go to ensure that you're not ravenous when you arrive.

Satisfy Your Sweet Cravings

At Halloween, things can get really scary when you find yourself pilfering your kids' treats or even buying candy and eating it before Halloween even gets here. Bad idea. If you're craving a snack with some sweetness, try something with a bit of nutrition built right in, like a CLIF Mojo bar or other fruit and nut bar, some almond hazelnut butter on an apple, or a chunk of fresh coconut dipped in a bit of chocolate. You'll not only love the sweet taste, but you'll at least get some fiber and nutrients will all of those choices as well.

Do as Cindy Crawford Said

When I was younger, I read something that Cindy Crawford said that has always stuck with me: "I'm not going to let anyone twist my arm and shove a cookie in my mouth".

I'm sure most people have experienced that well-meaning (or not so much, but that's another blog) relative or friend who wants you to eat their 'special' cookies, casserole, or other sweet or high calorie treat. I have a few ways I approach this situation. I either take some to go and then give it away or toss it, or I take a bit and have one bite. Otherwise, I just tell them that I'm full and can't eat another bite. Cindy was right. If you don't want to eat something, don't let someone guilt you into eating it. If they feel bad, that's their problem, not yours. Move on.

Keep Active

People sometimes try to tell me that they aren't active in the winter because it's so cold. When I hear that, I think to myself "do you really think that's an actual excuse?"

The reality of the situation is that anyone who lives North of the Mason Dixon line is going to have to take some initiative to figure out their winter workout routine. And not in January, either. Be proactive and figure out your plan now, while the weather is changing. Keeping active throughout the holiday season and beyond is another way to keep yourself fit and healthy. Getting out and being active also removes you from food and can stop overindulgence in its tracks.

Always remember though, you can't burn off a crappy diet, so first and foremost, watch what goes into your mouth.

Let it Go

Not the song (oh god, please no), but the feeling of guilt when you eat too much. Many people will be triggered into an all-or-nothing attitude by one overindulgent event. Let's put in this way: a 1000 calorie one-time splurge is unlikely to hurt you. But if you take it further, a 10,000 calorie (sounds like a lot, but especially with holiday treats, it's actually attainable) overage is a hell of a lot harder to overcome. So as I said before, own it, get over it, and get back on the healthy horse.

By the same token, try not to be so strict with yourself that you feel deprived. If a food is super special to you and you get it only once a year, have some. Again, a bit of overindulgence is fine from time to time, but when it becomes a lot of overindulgence all the time, it's not a good thing.

Eating Season is officially on, but you can keep healthy and fit throughout this time by making some smart choices and thinking ahead.


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