It’s that time of year again when trays and tins of holiday treats start showing up in the nurses’ lounge. Instead of mindlessly giving into temptation because everything looks so yummy, and nursing is stressful, quel that risk to overindulge with a few simple tips.
- Bring a healthy alternative to add to the choices of treats. A bunch of grapes, a small veggie platter, a bag of pistachios, etc. are great alternatives to all the sweet enticements. Seeing healthy snacks alongside the high-calorie treats can help steel your resolve to avoid bingeing on treats.
- Adopt the three-bite rule. After three bites of anything your taste buds no longer experience a food the same way. Those first few bites are the best, so why keep eating something so sinfully delicious when it no longer tastes sinfully delicious? Limit your indulgence to either three bites of one thing or three one-bite treats. And limit your treats to once or twice a week only.
- Remember the expression, “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.” Sweet treat or an additional hour or two of exercise to make up for it? Do you have the time and energy this week for that additional hour? You either must make time for it or risk gaining a pound or two, which makes it harder later to take off. Extra pounds also take their toll on your back, knees, and ankles and goodness knows a nursing career already does that enough!
- Consider taking home a treat or two to really thoroughly enjoy them later, instead of “grazing.” Setting aside time to relax and mindfully tasting a treat after your shift or after eating a nice meal at home will allow you the pleasure of being able to fully enjoy the treat, instead of quickly downing it between patients, call lights, and phone calls. Give yourself a break and a reward to look forward to when your shift is over.
- Plan your treats and track when you do indulge. With so many extra food choices around during the holidays, it’s easy to forget when we ate our last treat. If you have a party to attend or a family gathering, do you have the space in your eating routine for the extra calories that might be consumed or did you perhaps eat a few extra treats at work that you’re already doing extra time at the gym for? It’s no problem if you’re adding some extra workout time to compensate for holiday calories, but we can forget how often we need to do that unless we have a very good memory or we track it. Use your smartphone or a pocket calendar to record when you’ve indulged, and it will be easier to remember that you’ve left space in your week for those holiday party calories, that you’ve already reached your limit for the week, or that it’s an extra one hour at the gym, and not two, this week (woohoo!).
What are your tips for avoiding holiday weight gain? I’d love to have some additional strategies to keep me strong! Share your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for reading!
About the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within’, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.