Enjoy the Holiday Season without the Dreaded 7-8 Pound Weight Gain
The holidays are here, bringing with them a string of celebrations, chaotic schedules, travel and lots of epicurean indulgences. Our spirits are lifted by the warm feelings that we recall from our childhood: the gifts, the cookies, and the special family times. The invitations and cards are pouring in, and we just want to abandon ourselves to this jubilant romance of year-end. Everything swirls into a relentless eating and partying contest straight through the end of the year! Are you in the mood for the holidays or are you beginning to feel the stress?
Studies show that during the holiday season we tend to gain 7- 8 pounds. No, no, no, we shake our heads; we are absolutely not entering a contest with Santa. Experts suggest that eating healthy and just one hour of exercise a day can help you stay in good shape even while you have fun and celebrate.
During the holidays we often give up our normal routine. It’s imperative to remain active during the holidays, even if you cannot commit as much time. Exercise can boost your energy; keep you focused and you’ll be less likely to allow yourself to fall into decadent eating.
- Choose one thing that needs an appointment like a group fitness class, and treat it the same way as you would other commitments.
- Do you have a fitness tracker? Are you counting your steps? It takes 10 minutes of fast walking for 1000 steps and 10,000 steps can burn an extra 500 calories.
- Tired of walking? Turn on your favorite tunes and dance. Salsa or swing dancing can burn as much as 400 calories in one hour. Be creative, have fun!
Tips to Control Your Eating
While endless temptations are everywhere, holiday meals don’t have to disrupt your healthy journey. With a little preparation, you’ll be able to face the holiday head-on and still enjoy it.
- Graciously say no. We all can recall at least one occasion when “please take one more” or “I cooked this for you.” Sometimes no thank you can work. And if that fails, simply answer: “I had some already—so delicious!”
- Focus on people and less on food. Feed your mind with conversations and catch up with friends and family versus feeding your stomach. Make sure that you chose a location far from the food table so that mindless nibbling is not an option.
- Eat a protein meal before the party. Do not skip meals just because you have a party and want to ‘save up’ your calories. You will arrive famished and that spells trouble. Never hit a holiday party on an empty stomach.
- Cocktail time. Alcohol can wreck havoc on your weight. Not only does it add calories, but it also lowers your inhibitions and you wind up eating more. Always start with an unsweetened non-alcoholic beverage to satisfy your thirst. Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage and limit yourself to two drinks per evening.
- Eat only half. If you do not want to give up those harmful bites during holidays, you have to pay attention to portions. Most restaurants give you significantly larger portions than is necessary. Some helpful tips are to order off the kid’s menu, split an entrée with a friend, or put half of the dish in a to-go box so that you are not tempted to overeat.
Sipping before meals helps dieters consume 90 calories less at each meal. Take your weight in pounds, divide by two, and that’s how many ounces of water you should drink each day. The additional benefit is that water is good for your skin. Staying hydrated also makes you look and feel younger.
Enjoy Without Guilt
While the holiday season can be a very challenging time of the year, there are smart ways to indulge and not pay the price with a weight gain. The good news is that you can still stay on track. Moderation and planning are key so all those seasonal delicacies can be as enjoyable as ever.