Life / Health

Start your New Year's diet now and you won't worry later

Fight excess through moderation and mindfulness.

Thinking about New Year’s eating resolutions? Why not start early and approach the holidays with more moderation?

istock

Thinking about New Year’s eating resolutions? Why not start early and approach the holidays with more moderation?

It’s January 1st and you’re hungover, bloated, and one cookie away from total self-loathing; you’d be lost if not for those resolutions you’re definitely starting tomorrow.

If that sounds familiar, then “why not fix it before you break it?” and start your New Year’s resolutions today, asks The UnDiet Cookbook author Meghan Telpner. “It might not be 100 per cent, but you’re exploring your options so that when the holidays come you already have a sense of moderation.”

handout

"It is not just about diet and exercise, but also the mind," says Meghan Telpner, author of The UnDiet Cookbook.

Home is where the heart and hips are healthiest

A November 2014 study published in Public Health Nutrition found that people who frequently cook at home “consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all.”

While you’re at it, Telpner suggests batch-cooking healthy soups, stews and sauces. Stock your freezer so you can alternate future festive fare with wholesome home cooking.

Flavours worth savouring

Multiple studies show that mindful eating — paying attention to the experience of dining — helps reduce caloric intake.

“If we help ourselves to a delicious sweet, we should really appreciate its colour, its shape, and the time and energy that went into making it,” says naturopathic doctor Leslie Solomonian. Follow this approach and you’ll not only eat less — you’ll enjoy more.

Healthful holiday mind games

Many of us of alleviate stress by consuming, says Solomonian, especially around the holidays.

Each time you reach for a treat, she suggests asking yourself “what is it that I’m thinking or feeling now? Am I genuinely hungry or am I feeling bored? Or angry? Or worried?”

Practice now before the emotional intensity of the season ramps up.

“It’s not just about diet and exercise,” reminds Telpner, “but also the mind.” Seeking moments of quiet, or exercising — which benefits body and mind — will also help you manage temptations and frustrations.

Kindness is key

Compassion is essential to breaking the cycle of excess and denial, says Solomonian, and can be practiced in many ways. Focusing on positive behaviours — eating more vegetables, enjoying more outdoor exercise — is more satisfying than simply eliminating “bad” habits.

Occasional overindulgence isn’t the worst thing either, so don’t beat yourself up if you do go overboard. Just down a big glass of water and remember that a balanced life is the gift that keeps giving.

More on Metronews.ca