If you’re anything like me, the holidays come not only with the feeling of extreme excitement for family and traditions but also with the feeling of anxiety for the eating and drinking that is such an essential part of the fun. Well, I have decided to let go of my anxiety this year and allow myself to enjoy this holiday season with a few mantras:
1. Limit Alcohol Intake: Liquid calories are empty, avoidable calories! I limit myself to no more than two glasses of prosecco, and usually only one. Prosecco is my favorite, but you can replace that with your drink of choice! After that first glass, I switch to seltzer with lime or with a splash of cranberry juice. Then I look like I am drinking a cocktail and feel good about the calories I am not consuming. I also recommend waiting until you have had something to eat before you drink an alcoholic beverage. I think we all know that it is much harder to make good choices when our impulse control is impaired. Do not limit water intake throughout the day. Sometimes our body mistakes feelings of hunger with feelings of thirst. Bummer.
2. Do Not Skip Meals: As an Italian American, Christmas Eve is the biggest, most important, most fun day of the whole year. Literally. My mom and grandma cook incredible food for all of my relatives, and nothing is spared. I used to skip breakfast and lunch on Christmas Eve in order to “save calories” for dinner and dessert. By the time the night started, I was so hungry that I made all the wrong choices, like filling up on appetizers and splurging on every carb in sight. This year, I plan to have a light, protein-filled breakfast, such as non-fat plain Greek yogurt with fruit or an egg white omelet, and an equally light yet satisfying lunch like a salad (with little to no dressing, of course) and a piece of fish or chicken breast. This will keep my blood sugar from falling and making me a) cranky and b) starving and c) craving the bread basket.
3. Moderation, Moderation, Moderation: Yes, I will have oysters, seafood salad, pasta, and stuffed lobster tail on Christmas Eve. I will also have Christmas cookies and submit my ballot for my favorite cookie of the annual Cookie Contest. (If you were there, I am sure that you would all vote for my cookie, a chocolate wafer cookie with a mint crème filling. Let’s share recipes.) I have been on every single diet, and nothing worked. Now, I live by this rule: everything in moderation. Since then, I have lost 20 pounds. I do not say “no” to the things I love, instead I eat a little of each and make choices. My mom’s seven-layer rainbow cookie is my favorite, so I will opt for that cookie first. I will eat a larger amount of seafood salad and oysters, because they are high in protein and low in fat, as opposed to eating a larger portion of pasta. The only thing I will not show moderation about is wearing my skinny jeans as often as possible. This keeps me feeling motivated and proud.
4. Exercise (duh): In my LBBC [Life-Before-Brooklyn-Crew], I spent years not exercising. This is one of the many reasons why I am so inspired by all of you who come to Brooklyn Crew. You make the choice to take care of your body and soul by integrating exercise into your life. A rowing machine, unfortunately, is not portable, but sneakers are. So if you’re traveling out of town, bring them with you. You can always find 20-30 minutes to squeeze in a workout. This is most important on the days when you know you have a big meal coming. And obvi, when you are in town, come in for a class at Brooklyn Crew. Surround yourself with people who share your goals and who inspire you. I cannot wait to see you and hear about how you are spending your holidays, be it quiet time at home or traveling for parties with family and friends. Your Brooklyn Crew family will be here supporting you through the holiday season!