by Linda Gabriel
Yes, it’s possible to not gain weight over the holidays!
It’s important to give yourself permission to enjoy traditional holiday meals. In order to gain a pound, you have to overeat by 3500 calories. That’s hard to do in one sitting. The tendency to over eat several hundred calories a day over the holidays is far more treacherous. Those mindless extra bites can really add up, so keep your splurges confined to the traditional holiday feasts. One day of over-indulgence is okay, but don’t turn Thanksgiving into a 4-day eating marathon.
If you have a strategy you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays without gaining weight. You might even lose a pound or two.
10 Tips for Healthy Eating Over the Holidays.
1. Don’t go to a party on an empty stomach. If you try to starve yourself in advance in order to “save up calories” you’re much more likely to overeat. It’s better to eat normal, healthy food the day of a party. Sometimes I eat a healthy snack like an apple before heading out. That way, by the time I arrive, I’m more interested in the company than the food.
2. Don’t overdo the alcohol. It adds a lot of extra calories and interferes with good judgment. Decide ahead of time to have only one drink and make it last. Skip mixed drinks, especially egg nog. It can pack as much as 600 calories per serving! At 160 calories per 8 ounces, champagne is a much better choice. Better yet, drink sparkling water. Tall narrow beverage glasses fool the eye into thinking you have a larger serving than shorter wider glassware.
3. Don’t stand and chat next to the food table at a buffet. Stay more than an arm’s length away. Serve yourself a plate and move to the other side of the room where you can slowly enjoy what you’re eating. Focus on socializing.
4. Remind yourself that food is a poor substitute for love. If you have a beloved relative that typically insist you eat seconds, plan ahead. Serve yourself smaller portions to begin with. Then pre-emt by asking for seconds of one particular dish – the healthiest. Better yet, skip the seconds but give your relative a big hug and tell them how much you love and appreciate them.
5. Enjoy treats but limit the amount. Instead of full portions, try sampling small tastes of several different items. That extra cookie or serving of yams usually doesn’t taste as good as you think it will. Instead choose to eat just one small serving and really savor it.
6. At parties, don’t just sit in one place, mingle! Keep moving. Offer to help with the clean up. If there’s music, get out on the dance floor.
7. Days are short during the winter so plan to get some exercise early in the day, preferably first thing in the morning. Grab the kids and take a brisk walk outside if weather permits. Going shopping? Wear comfortable shoes and include a few extra laps around the mall. Get an exercise buddy and enroll in a stress-busting yoga class. Rent or buy exercise videos. Choose some fun ones like Belly Dance for Beginners or Sweatin’ to the Oldies.
8. If you’re invited to a pot luck, consider bringing a healthy dish. There are a loads of delicious, healthy recipes at cookinglight.com.
9. Out of sight = out of mind = out of stomach. Don’t use food as part of your holiday decor at home or at work. Keep treats under wraps until you are ready to serve.
10. Distribute and/or destroy the bounty. If you receive a box of candy or cookies, open it on the spot and share. Send leftovers home with guests. And don’t be afraid to throw surplus food away. With more than half of adults in the US suffering from obesity, people are suffering from having way too much food. Imagine you are throwing fat down the garbage disposal. Better in the trash than in your arteries!
What are some of your favorite tips for keeping fit over the holidays?