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November 30, 2011

Work out Your Willpower to Resist Holiday Treats

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

The holiday season is in high gear, and if your resolve to live a healthy life is on the wane, you may think you lack the willpower to pass up high-calorie party fare in favor of nutritious meals and snacks, and to work out on a regular basis.

That's not necessarily true.

Let's face it. You only have so much mental and physical energy to devote to shopping for and wrapping presents, coordinating holiday parties, working, and running a household. Doing anything you don't want to do - which draws on willpower - saps those limited energy reserves.

Right now, your willpower is under siege.  But it's not all bad news. 

While willpower tends to buckle with challenging conditions, including fatigue, lack of time to shop for healthy food, and feeling overwhelmed, you can improve it. 

Think of willpower as a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it gets.  Set yourself up for success with these simple strategies to improve your inner strength.

Boost energy levels.  Get the rest you need to help you tackle the day ahead. Eat regular meals and snacks that contain protein-rich foods such as Hood Milk , Simply Smart Milk , and Hood Cottage Cheese .

Conserve energy. Resist accepting every invitation for holiday get-togethers. Pare down your present list to make shopping more efficient and cost-effective.

Limit alcohol. Alcohol disturbs sleep.  Start holiday parties with a non-alcoholic beverage, such as Hood EggNog , diet soda, or flavored soda water, to quench your thirst and curb alcohol intake.

Write it down.  Make a list of what you want to do today (and don't put too many things on it!) People who put their goals on paper are significantly more likely to achieve them than are those who just think about what needs to get done. You'll feel good when you accomplish each goal, and your success will help bolster your resolve.

Pace yourself. Take stress breaks. Laugh as much as possible. Relax with loved ones.

Give yourself wiggle room. Delegate holiday duties, including baking, shopping, wrapping, and cleaning.  Get as much exercise as possible, but don't get discouraged if you can't keep up with your regular routine. Any movement counts!

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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