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How to head off a holiday health crash

holiday crashAs the holiday season approaches, it gets harder and harder to stay healthy.

Holiday soirees are stocked with cheesy, sugary indulgence and celebratory cocktails. And the lunch break you usually spend at the Farmer’s Market gets hijacked by frenzied gift buying.

“Most people feel that the second Thanksgiving hits, it’s a conspiracy, and the deck is stacked against them,” says Lauren Slayton, the founder of Foodtrainers, a New York City nutrition practice. The key to avoiding a complete crash, according to Slayton, is to plan for the season before it hits.

She’ll be explaining a ten-step plan for establishing a good routine at Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Savvy Girl’s Guide to the Holidays at the Yinova Center on Thursday, November 17.

Lauren Slayton, founder of Foodtrainers
Lauren Slayton, founder of Foodtrainers

In advance of the talk, Slayton shared three of her ten tips with us. Use them to head off a holiday health crash before it’s too late:

1. Set up “Special Days to combat Special Days.” When you’re adding the office party to your calendar, pencil in a corresponding day where you’ll avoid anything that tastes sweet (“Savory Day”) or anything packaged (“Whole Foods Day”). This will help you focus and ward off fluctuating between overdoing it and starving yourself.

2. Create a Resist List. Accountability works. Pat yourself on the back by keeping track of all the fatty foods you don’t grab. Foodtrainers calls this “Tweet it, don’t eat it,” and encourages clients to tweet their progress with the hashtag #tidei. If you’re old-school (or private), keep a journal.

3. Run on empty (safely!). Exercising before eating, instead of after, can help you maintain a healthy weight because your body will utilize your fat for fuel, rather than calories you just ingested. Slayton suggests working out on an empty stomach ONLY if you’re doing it first thing in the morning and ONLY if you eat within 30 minutes of finishing. Don’t try this if you’re training for a marathon either, this is for a regular, moderate morning exercise routine.

Above all, says Slayton, “Have a schedule and a plan in place.” This way, you’ll be maintaining, not just wishing for, a healthy holiday season. —Lisa Elaine Held

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Savvy Girl’s Guide to the Holidays, Thursday, November 17 at 7:00 p.m., The Yinova Center, 74 E. 11th Street (at Broadway). To RSVP to this free event, call 212-533-2255.