Just when people are finally getting their eating habits under control, there it is – the holidays and food is everywhere. From the office to shopping, parties and family events galore, it seems as if the Thanksgiving-to-New Year’s holiday season is one long, tempting food-fest designed to make you gain weight.
So, how does one beat holiday weight gain? Food and diet experts recommend gaining knowledge, not weight, this holiday season.
Staying Slim Rules:
Keep weight in check: Weigh yourself in the morning, at least once or twice a week, during the holidays. This should enough to notice any slight increase from the week and to keep you in check for the weekend and vice-versa.
Jumpstart your metabolism for the day: Get up and at it 15-30 minutes earlier and do some exercise. Early morning workouts strengthen your resolve for the day and rev up the metabolism. Remember – energy creates energy, physically and mentally. Consider purchasing a walking video, or downloading a workout app or shaking it fun with Hip Hop Abs or a Zumba video.
Be thrifty with your calorie spending: Peruse the buffet table and take only the foods you enjoy and come once a year. Don’t start with sushi, especially if you eat it all the time, and expect to be able to resist the chicken wings, which you love, but avoid. Eat what you love in moderation to stave off those cravings that get you in trouble later. Don’t waste calories on foods you can eat anytime.
No starving all day just to pig out at night. Eat lean protein and non-starchy vegetables throughout the day. It will prevent blood sugar from dipping and spiking and keep you full until the big event. The combo even gives you calories to spare on your favorite splurge.
Say “no” and mean it. Empower willpower. Don’t let others lessen your resolve. Each time anyone says ‘no,’ it can strengthen them for the next time. But remember, the stress is in the resistance. So, if you have to say no too many times, it may be better to decline an invite or cookie exchanges. Having to resist too much can backfire. Holiday parties are social times, but they shouldn’t leave you feeling guilty and depressed.
Intensify your workout:
Time is always in short supply during the holidays. But don’t ditch the workout — just bump up the intensity if you need to shorten the time. If you usually walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, do 15 minutes of higher intensity intervals. If going to the gym is cutting into shopping time, use shopping as a workout — use the stairs, park farther away, walk faster and after a purchase take it to the car. Standing in line? Do calf raises, contract and relax your abs, use your purse as a dumbbell, stand up straight, tighten shoulder blades – get creative to avoid just standing in place scrolling through your phone.
Practice the 3-bite rule:
Just have to have it? Take enough for 3 small bites – that amazing first taste, a satisfying middle and then a lingering third bite – and savor each one. All the bites after that will taste the same and just add calories. When all else fails, go on the ‘No thanks honey, I’ll just have a bite of yours diet’!
Avoid hangover food:
Don’t take leftovers home or send leftovers home with others. If it’s not in your house it won’t tempt you and others in your household. If family members insist, tell them to portion out what they want and put it in the freezer. Non-perishables? Keep them up high in the cupboard behind the cornstarch. In moments of weakness, we generally go for what we see first. Out of sight, out of reach, out of mind.
Keep healthy snacks readily available: Fresh fruit in a bowl, dried fruits and nuts in snack packs, veggies and fruits cut up in the fridge, packs of tuna/salmon, yogurt, cheese sticks. Many times snacking is about quick-to-grab at first sight. Keep these healthy snacks on hand, in sight, easy to grab ’n go.