It's the most wonderful time of the year, when Christmas cookies and other baked goods appear in masses at the office, school and at home.
A bite here, a cookie there — hey, it's all in the spirit of the season — and bam! A couple of pounds put on even before Christmas Eve and all the real feasting. I'm not here to tell you that you shouldn't enjoy a Christmas treat, because I've been guilty of that. In fact, I'm going to tell you that you should happily enjoy it. But only on Christmas.
Because most offices and all schools are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the cheer is spread early. Not only do Christmas trees and decorations go up at the malls early, but the spirit of the season includes lots of temptations almost a month before Christmas. Holiday parties and Christmas potlucks and cookie exchanges bring on ample opportunities to slip up and indulge in tasty treats. And while the Christmas season is the most wonderful time of the year, indulging for this long may get you into trouble.
Once you let the reins go and eat a few Christmas cookies and treats here and there, you may let the yummy gingerbread cookies, candy canes and chocolate treats become part of your diet more often than they should be. Not only does this halt your healthy eating habits, but it may actually lead you back to your old ways for good, even after the tinsel and decorations are put away.
If you go from healthy eating habits and a diet low in sugar and carbohydrates back to junk food and treats high in sugar and carbohydrates for a few weeks, the pounds will eventually creep back on. While this may give you an extra boost to keep your upcoming New Year's resolutions, why not make your New Year's resolution to keep eating healthy and keep losing weight instead of to lose the weight you put back on over Christmas?
The other day a co-worker eagerly brought in her gingerbread cookies baked from scratch and offered me one. I tried to decline, but she seemed a bit disappointed, so I took one and thanked her. Instead of eating it, I saved it and gave it to a family member at home. If you get a lot of treats you actually do want to enjoy, pick two or three you'd like to eat the most, and give the rest away. The scale will thank you for it later.
If you save the feasting until Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you'll feel better about indulging. The guilt that usually comes with eating junk food won't be present at the Christmas dinner because you'll know you've been "good" up until Christmas. You'll just be rewarding your months of hard work and healthy eating choices with one or two days of Christmas treats with your loved ones. You also know you'll go right back to eating healthily as soon as Christmas Day celebrations are over.
I used to think you can't have your cake and eat it too, but in the past couple of years I've realized that if you're smart about your diet and fitness throughout the year — consistently — then you won't automatically balloon up or gain weight from a couple of days of feasting on not-so-unhealthy treats at Christmas. So keep up with your salads, proteins and complex healthy carbohydrates — the gingerbread cookies and Christmas log cake on Christmas Day will taste that much sweeter.
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!