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Healthy Holiday Tips from Brenda Powell

Tis the season for overeating (among other things)—but the holidays don’t have to derail your health. Brenda Powell—Zenergy personal trainer and yoga instructor—offers some tips for staying on track this holiday season.

Avoid Overeating
If that sounds easier said than done, here’s how:

  • Eat breakfast. Starving yourself early in the day will only backfire and lead to a binge the moment you arrive at that holiday party full of treats.
  • Be choosy. Before loading up your plate, survey the buffet and pick only those foods you really crave.
  • Take small samplings of a wide variety of dishes. Savor that bite and pass on seconds—remind yourself that more won't taste any better.
  • Pace yourself at the table, and stop eating before you feel full. A recent study shows that eating quickly leads to weight gain.
  • Make time for conversation. Put down the fork before you talk.

Burn Extra Calories
Without realizing it, you can easily pack in a pound’s worth of calories—yes, 3,500—in no time. One fabulously catered holiday party can have disastrous results. It’s hard to undo those extra calories. Consider this—60 minutes of biking at 10 mph burns only about 300 calories. Who has 11 hours to spend on the bike? Try adding an extra 30 minutes of daily activity throughout the holidays to offset all the treats.

Focus on Family, Not Food
The holidays were never intended to be about food. Think of the season as a special time to spend with family and friends. Focus on the people, the connection, and the laughter—and you’ll find that the food has less allure.

Be Proactive
Create a plan for success. It’s okay to indulge a little, but be sure you have a plan in place after you do. If you arrive home from a party feeling like you’ve overdone it, develop a day-after plan before you go to sleep. Decide on a light yet nourishing breakfast, a brisk workout, and a renewed outlook. Getting back on track—not feeling guilty—is your game plan.