Holiday season does NOT have to mean weight gain season!
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the holidays are officially upon us!
For some of us this conjures up thoughts of family and festivities. For others, stress and rushing around come to mind. For too many people, the worry of unwanted weight gain sets in - the parties, the food, the baking, the cookies, the pies, the alcohol - all of it!
Well, worry no more!
There are several tips you can follow to get you through the holidays without tipping the scale in the wrong direction. There are actually many things I can recommend, but I’ll try to stick to real-life tips that still allow you to eat, drink and be merry!
first and foremost, avoid skipping meals in order to “save up calories for the party at night” - not a good plan! Chances are, you will be so hungry that you will overeat and not make the best choices at the party. Be sure to eat breakfast, lunch and a small snack during the day as you usually do so that you can be better equipped to stay in control at night
try not to linger around the buffet or food table; when we are mingling and standing around talking, if there is food within reach, many of us tend to snack on the food without even realizing it; this mindless eating can really add up to a lot by the end of the night
get in the habit of bringing a ‘safe dish’ with you; most of us don’t like to go to parties empty-handed; if you’re already bringing something, why not bring a healthy (but still yummy) something; this way, if there aren’t many - or any! - healthy choices, you can at least enjoy what you brought
instead of adding a little of everything as you proceed through a buffet line, try to take a look at all the food offerings before adding anything to your plate; determine which foods you’d love to have, which you might like to sample, and which you can do without; no need to waste calories on foods you don’t necessarily enjoy; put on your plate the foods that you’d love to have, watch the portions, then savor and enjoy!
be careful not to drink too many calories; many cocktails are made with sweet juices which contain lots of sugar and calories; beer is very filling and tends to show up around the waistline; better choices include spiked seltzer, wine spritzer, Vodka soda or, for a festive flair, try prosecco with a splash of cranberry juice!
pay attention to the distribution of foods on your plate - aim for 1/2 the plate to be filled with vegetables, 1/4 filled with protein and 1/4 carb. Try to fill up on the vegetables and protein first, saving the carb for last; by the time you get to the carb, gage your hunger or fullness level and you may find that you’ve had enough and you don’t need to finish what is left on your plate; being mindful and listening to your body will help you feel better throughout the season
be sure to continue with your exercise routine; the holidays tend to get very busy and oftentimes exercise is what gets dropped; exercising will help you burn off some of the extra holiday calories you’re taking in and will help to relieve some of the stress that seems to come along with the holiday season
lastly, try to remember what the holidays are all about; we’re gathering with family and friends to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company; yes, there will be food and drink there, but that shouldn’t be the main focus; sit next to someone you enjoy and focus on connecting with them and others around you
Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season!