This Holiday Remember these 10 tips:
- Think weight maintenance not weight loss! Use this time to concentrate on weight maintenance not weight loss. Study show that many people gain 5-7 pounds from Halloween to New Years and that often times this weight is not lost in the New Year. Even if you are currently overweight and want to lose weight, this is not the time to do it. Maintenance of your present weight is a big enough challenge during the holiday season. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making unrealistic goals for yourself.
- Plan on NOT dieting after the New Year. Anticipation of food restriction sets you up for binge-type eating over the holidays (“after all, if I’m never going let myself eat this again after Jan. 1st, I might as well eat as much as possible now!”) Besides, restrictive diets don’t work in the long run. They increase your loss of lean body mass vs. fat, slow down your metabolism, increase anxiety, depression, food preoccupation, and binge eating, and make weight re-gain more likely.
- Be physically active. Try to get in daily movement during this busy time of year. It is very easy to let your exercise routine fall to the bottom of the priority list. Physical activity, especially aerobic activities (like brisk walking, jogging, bicycling) can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories from holiday eating. Tips for getting in movement: Park your car at the far end of the parking lot, take a brisk 15 minute walk at the beginning or end of your day, take the stairs whenever you can, and dance at the party!
- Make a plan and stick to it. Think about where you will be, who you will be with, what foods will be available, what foods are really special to you (that you really want to eat) vs. those that you could probably do without, what are your personal triggers to overeat and how can you minimize them. Once you’ve thought about all of these things, make a plan of action. It’s much easier to deal with a difficult social eating situation if you’ve already planned for it.
- Help out your gut with enzymes and probiotics. Enzymes help improve digestion, reduce bloating, and maximize nutrient absorption. With all of the rich and calorie laden foods that surround the holidays, supporting your digestive system with enzymes will help to reduce the symptoms of over-eating holiday treats. A well established population of friendly intestinal flora can do a lot to relieve digestive difficulties, as well as boosting immune response and preventing pathogenic bacteria from taking over. By increasing your friendly flora, you help your body cope with the rich food and larger portions that usually surround holiday gatherings.
- Eat before the party: On the day of your holiday events, make sure you have a nutritious breakfast and lunch as well as a light and healthy snack not long before you head out the door. If you arrive at the party ravenous, it’s highly likely that you will overeat and fall prey to all of the less optimal foods.
- Have just one plate of food and fill half of it with vegetables: While some foods are more calorie-dense than others, no food will make you gain weight unless you eat too much of it. At parties and holiday dinners, we tend to eat (or keep eating) beyond our body’s physical hunger simply because food is there and eating is a “social thing.” To avoid overeating, consciously make one plate of the foods you really want. Spend time surveying the entire buffet and then come up with your eating plan. A great idea is to fill one half of your plate with fresh or cooked vegetables (look for the cleanest options and avoid things smothered in cheese, butter, cream, etc.). Fill the other half of your plate with small tastes of the other foods you want to try the most.
- During the meal, check in with yourself and savor your meal slowly. Are you really still hungry? Are you tasting your food? Remember digestion starts in the mind. Let your senses go wild. Smell the food, look at the colors and textures, be grateful where your food is coming from before you dig in. Are you putting food in your mouth before you’ve swallowed what’s already there? Try and chew each bite 20-30 times. And if needed, just put your fork and knife down altogether in between bites to slow you down. Once you’ve finished, put your plate and utensils down for good to avoid a desire for seconds. Have a cup of tea or a mint to cleanse your palate; leftover food residue can leave you craving more.
- Stick to dry wine or light beer: Choose your beverages wisely. Alcohol is high in calories. Liquors, sweet wines and sweet mixed drinks contain 150-450 calories per glass. If you choose to drink, select light wines and beers. And make sure every other drink is a glass of water. Limit your intake to 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per occasion. And, watch out for calories in soda, fruit punch, and egg nogs. A glass of egg nog is about 400 calories 8 grams of fat and over 20 grams of sugar in comparison a glass of wine is around 80 calories and 4-6 grams of sugar
- Reduce the fat in holiday recipes and bring something healthy to the party. There are plenty of low fat and low calorie substitutes that are amazingly tasty. Try using applesauce in place of oil in your favorite holiday breads; use egg substitutes in place of whole eggs; try plain lowfat yogurt in place of sour cream. Plus there are so many delicious foods out there at this time of year from cranberries to butternut squash to pumpkin. These foods are packed with healthy vitamins and nutrients when prepared right!
Just remember, when you indulge in a slice of holiday fruitcake, just make sure it is after a balanced meal. Then take a walk with the family and enjoy the holiday decorations. This way you can burn off some of those extra calories and celebrate the season at the same time!
It’s all about balance right!