Holidays are a tough time for our healthy routines. Some of us have a straightforward attitude toward the season, which can be summed up like this: “No way I’ll deprive myself of the delicious holiday goodies. I’ll check back with my body in January and work twice as hard in the new year.”
And I’ll be honest with you, if that’s YOUR line of thinking, I don’t blame you!
Now if you plan on eating all you want until the end of the year and collapse on the couch rather than sweat on your favorite gym’s elliptical, may I still suggest that you try one thing? Just one thing!
Do you think you could keep an eye on your drinks? Oh, I hear some of you already: “I don’t drink! I’m off the hook!” Well, actually, I am not just talking alcoholic beverages here. I am talking juices, sugary drinks, enhanced coffee, Chai tea, etc.
Yep! Keeping an eye on liquids will go a long way toward staying healthy during the holidays. Here is why.
Know what you drink!
Let’s consider that an average person needs about 2200 calories per day. If you take 3 meals per day, that’s about 700 calories per meal, right? Did you know that a medium size eggnog latte has about 450 calories? Same thing for a peppermint mocha! 12 oz of apple juice have about 180 calories, even more than 12 oz of beer.
I am not asking you to track calories during the holidays. Oh no, far from it! But if you know approximately how many calories are in the beverages you consume during the holidays, it might scare you a bit. And you might end up cutting a few. You know, the ones that are actually not THAT DELICIOUS!
Here is the thing with drinks. We have a tendency to wolf them down without really noticing and without getting much pleasure from them. Yet, drink 1 piña colada and 2 sodas tonight and you will swallow the equivalent of a meal calorie wise. Not to mention the effect of alcohol on your system, but that will be material for another article.
Tweak your drinking habits
So here is what I suggest: write down a list of the beverages you usually consume and their approximate calorie content. Here is a list to help you, with average values:
For more, you can go to USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
You can also use the Alcohol calorie calculator from the US Department of Health and Human Services. Very convenient!
Having your own list will help you identify the most "risky" drinks. Next time you are about to drink one or the other from your list, just think twice about it and ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I really want this drink? Will I really enjoy it?
- Could I pick a smaller size and still be satisfied and happy?
- Is this drink worth the calorie content? If yes, could I cut my snack, or maybe skip dessert?
- Can I replace this drink with one that would be healthier and/or “lighter”?
- Can I make this same drink healthier and lighter by using slightly different ingredients?
- Am I drinking this because I am thirsty? If the answer is yes, drink WATER!
Are there forbidden drinks?
I won’t go into the detail of each type of drink, but I would like to add a word of caution regarding diet sodas. Yes, their calorie content is very low or negligible. BUT! Because they are so sweet, they make you crave sugar, they make you want more, and they don’t quench your thirst. So don’t try to replace all drinks with diet sodas. It might help a bit, but not that much in the long term. Instead, whenever you can, favor the following beverages: water or sparkling water (plain or with a slice of lime or lemon), herbal tea, unsweetened iced or hot tea, black coffee (decaf or not). If you are hesitating between a cocktail and a glass of wine or a beer, your best bet is usually to go for the wine or beer. And stay away from sports drinks, unless your workout is quite intense and lasts an hour or more.
Again, I am not telling you “stop drinking”, “no alcohol!”, “no sodas!”. Although honestly, I am not far from suggesting the latter, sorry! But be aware of their effect on your health and on your weight. Because sometimes, they are not worth it.
Strategies to drink and eat less
I have specific strategies that my clients have successfully used to reduce their food and drinks consumption in real life situations. If this is something you have been struggling with for a while and you have a feeling that nothing works for you, now is the time to take a different approach and look into one-on-one coaching, where we can figure out what is going to work for you.
Private coaching with me is affordable (yes!) and flexible. If you want to know more, I suggest that you request a FREE Discovery Session and learn more about my approach and how it might help you reach your goals, just like it has helped so many others before.
In the meantime, if you want more tips before the holidays, you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram. And if you think this article can be helpful to someone you know, please share! Together, we are healthier 🙂
Thank you for reading! Happy Holidays!