Are you one of those people that enjoy the holidays, but dread the inevitable weight gain that goes along with it?
Do you want to attend the holiday parties and social events, but fear you’ll lose control once you see the dessert table?
With the constant temptations of calorie-laden food, it can be a challenge to get through the holiday season without putting on a few extra pounds.
So how to get through this “Season of Eating” without weight gain?
Here are some of my favorite and helpful tips:
1) Make every bite count. When you arrive at a party survey the table and decide which foods you love the most, or special foods you only get during the holidays. Whether its pecan pie, creamy fudge, or another tasty treat that’s your favorite — have some of that and remind yourself you can have the other foods at a later time.
Remember, too much self-denial stirs up cravings that get stronger and lead you to overeat or binge later on.
2) Be realistic. Don’t expect yourself to make calorie controlled, anti-oxidant, fiber-rich choices at every holiday gathering. It’s completely normal to eat some rich or indulgent foods. Don’t go to an event or party thinking you’ll stay away from those foods and only eat the healthy stuff. Don’t fool yourself…be realistic. You’re only human after all!
3) Eat regular meals, especially breakfast. It’s important to eat breakfast year-round, but even more vital this time of year. Too many people will skip breakfast in order to save calories later in the day. It always backfires. Always. You’ll only end up eating more later in the day, and then feel guilty afterwards. Besides, breakfast is a good way to start off the day in a healthy, positive attitude!
4) Just move on. Picture this: you’re at a holiday party. One minute you’re sitting next to a bowl of potato chips and the next minute the bowl is empty. You don’t know where the chips went, but your fingers are greasy….
Move yourself away from the food or buffet table. Once you’ve filled your plate and eaten your food, just walk away. That’s right, walk away. It’s just too darn tempting (and easy) to mindlessly nibble on what’s next to you. So just move on.
5) Remember that beverages have calories too. I know, it’s tough to think that glass of wine, eggnog or punch is not “calorie-free.” On top of that, alcohol has that magical power of making us forget that FOOD has calories too, as too much alcohol can lead us to overeat!
6) Arrive at a holiday party HUNGRY. That’s right, hungry. Ignore the old diet advice to “eat beforehand so you won’t arrive hungry.” You want to be hungry so you can enjoy some of your favorite foods. Just don’t arrive famished. There’s a difference. You don’t want to arrive so hungry that you eat everything in sight.
If I find I’m getting really hungry before a party, I’ll have a very small snack. Just enough so I don’t arrive famished, but not too much so I still have an appetite to enjoy the wonderful foods when I arrive!
7) Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Okay. I know. I get it. You KNOW you need to eat more fruits and veggies. But this time of year fruits and veggies seem to just get overlooked or forgotten about. Even I have to remind myself to eat more of them this time of year. Especially when I’m feeling tired or blue. I’m either not getting enough fruits & veggies, or I’m not getting enough sleep (or both). Which leads me to….
8) Get your sleep. Really. I know it can be hard with the long hours at work, the extra socializing, and late-night business affairs. But getting enough sleep is crucially important this time of year. Did you know that people who sleep more are, on average, slimmer than those who get less shut-eye? Yup. And anyone who knows me can tell you I get 8 hours of sleep a night. And if I don’t, I’m more tempted to reach for the high fat & high calorie foods. So I’m careful to get enough shut-eye.
So get out your festive clothing and head to a holiday party. Don’t stay home in fear of facing the food. Instead, get out, have fun, and remember the tips I just gave you. You just may find you had more fun than you thought you would!