Do the Holidays Unleash Your Inner Food Beast? Here's How to Tame It

POPSUGAR Photography | Blake Smith
POPSUGAR Photography | Blake Smith

From personal experience, I can tell you I have a food beast that lives inside me, who lives dormant until mid-November, at which time she comes out of hibernation and destroys all food in her path. She can't stop or slow down until sometime around December 31, at which time she returns to her state of slumber until the following holiday season (and at that point, I return to my protein-smoothie-loving, kale-salad-eating self).

Who here can relate? Does Thanksgiving send you on a downward, eggnog-coated spiral into an inescapable food-infused cave from which you cannot escape? Apparently self-control (when it comes to holiday food) is not my forte, and if you can relate, you'll love these tips we put together with help from our expert dietitian (and Tone It Up's go-to gal) Lori Zanini, RD, CDE.

These tricks are simple, easy to implement, and essentially foolproof at taming the foodbeast within.

  • Add some activity. "One of my personal strategies to prevent falling into this trap is to get outside and exercise," said Lori. "I always go for a hike the day after Thanksgiving; it's so refreshing, and I look forward to it. Being physically active helps remind us of all the amazing things are bodies do for us, and how to treat it well and get right back on track with our healthy eating habits." Keeping exercise consistent is key to preventing holiday weight gain, and will help balance out any extra indulgences, too.
  • Start your New Year's resolution now. Don't wait for permission or a far-off date to start working on your goals. If you make your resolution healthy, simple, and attainable — and you start your New Year's resolution in November — it'll be easier than ever to stay on course. Plus, you'll build tons of momentum for an even healthier 2017!
  • Practice mindful eating. Another tip we've picked up is to practice mindful eating. By slowing down the process of eating, putting your fork down between bites, and not doing something distracting while you're eating, and letting your brain process fullness earlier.
  • Evaluate weeks rather than meals. Best way to track your progress? Look at the big picture (not just meal by meal), and don't beat yourself up. "Remember to look at your day and week as a whole, rather than just one meal," said Lori. "What makes the biggest difference when it comes to our long-term health is overall consistency in what we are eating." Make healthy habits that allow for a little leeway when it comes to your favorite holiday treats.