It’s that time of year again when we are faced with endless opportunities to overindulge. A parade of community parties, family get-togethers and activities all revolving around food, make weight gain seem inevitable.
However, by following these tried-and-true strategies, you can keep holiday weight gain at bay. Hey, you might even lose weight!
Keep moving: Take a 20 minute brisk walk three times a week. Walk during your lunch break and eat at your desk. If it's raining out, take to the stairs. Walking for 20 minutes (assuming you are able to cover one mile) should burn 100 calories. At week’s end, that is 300 calories—two glasses of wine, a slice of cheesecake…you choose.
Size matters: Portion control is the key to maintaining a healthy weight and can be more important than the food choices you make. Plan on filling your plate with one-fourth less food than normal, and don’t go back for seconds. This will allow you to eat the foods you enjoy without feeling deprived.
Drink up: Have an eight-ounce glass of water before every meal. This will fill up space in your stomach and allow less room for food. It's also important to sip water throughout the day as water cleanses the system and helps flush out impurities.
Ditch late-night eating habits: During the week (preferably at least three or four nights a week), do not eat past 8 p.m. This means no late dinners and no late-night trips to the refrigerator. If you find yourself succumbing to your cravings, serve yourself a cup of hot herbal tea. This will warm your belly and give you a sense of satisfaction.
Just say yes—to veggies: By filling up on fibrous vegetables, you will have less room for high caloric foods. Veggies fill up your stomach without adding on the pounds.
Alcohol in moderation: Enjoying an alcoholic beverage can have its benefits—in moderation. The CDC recommends no more than one drink for women and two drinks for men per day.
Plan in advance: If going to a holiday party, pack a nutritious snack, such as carrots or sliced apples to munch on in case you find yourself slipping into the dark side.
Buddy up: There’s power in numbers, so call a friend and see if he or she would like to join you in your quest to ward off unwanted holiday pounds. When you are feeling the temptation to binge, give your friend a ring, and, hopefully they will provide the encouragement you are seeking.
Don’t give in: Many people expect to gain weight during the month of December and plan on dieting in January, but you don’t have to give in to this notion. Maintain a realistic weight throughout the holidays, and you won’t have to dread the first of the year.
Be your own best friend: If you fall off the wagon, be kind to yourself and get right back on. Take one day at a time and remember any effort made will help you lead a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Follow these tips and you will avoid the stress of unwanted weight gain while still enjoying the fun of the holiday season with friends and family.