The holidays are a time to enjoy friends, family and food. Fend off holiday weight gain with these easy to follow holiday wellness tips.
The best way to combat weight gain during the holidays? Get moving! Thanksgiving is a perfect day for an early morning Turkey Trot before the big meal. Or get your family and friends together for a Turkey Bowl of football. When visiting with family and friends, try standing instead of loafing on the couch. Studies show standing can burn up to 50 more calories an hour than sitting. Whatever it is, don’t forget that staying active and moving will not only help keep your weight balanced, it will also serve to motivate you to avoid all the tempting (but BAD) treat available during this time of year.
No one is perfect, or should be. The key is moderation. Instead of asking for the largest slice of Grandma’s chocolate pie, or Aunt Suzy’s pumpkin pie, ask your cousin if he’ll split a piece with you. And while you’re at it, keep in mind that there is no LAW stating that you must cover your entire plate with enough food to feed 10! A single serving (1 cup) of some of your favorite holiday dishes will be plenty. A tip? Use a smaller plate, or make an effort to ensure 30% of your larger plate isn’t covered with food.
Be in charge of party choices
Avoid large servings. Skip on the sauce or gravy on your turkey or potatoes. Do you really need that huge glob of butter on that roll? For salad, pass on the Ranch and go with vinaigrette, oil and vinegar, or a lighter Italian. And the biggest danger at parties? Alcohol – of course! Empty calories from alcohol and mixers serve as the largest fuel for weight gain during the holidays.
Eating regularly greatly reduces the likelihood of overeating at the dinner table. It also allows your body to burn calories and process your meals. If you go to the dinner table starving, it’s likely you’ll eat more food that your body can’t process quickly enough, and the result will be the storage of these calories as fat.
Prepare for outings
If you have certain days that you know will be heavy with unhealthy options, overcompensate on the other days! Too often people believe the Holidays are a time to reward yourself with poor eating habits, but building around certain known big meals or nights out will allow you to better plan your healthy holiday season.
Don’t fill your plate with purley rich, calorie heavy foods. Be sure fruits and vegetables are covering your plate along side the turkey and stuffing. Not sure if the family or host will have these options? Offer to bring a veggie or fruit tray over. Share the wealth – ensure everyone has access to healthier eating options.
Be wary of sugary foods
These foods have two nasty habits: 1) they don’t provide anything more than extra fat calories to your diet. 2) They make us crave even MORE sugary foods. We’ve all done it – overeating on the sugary and rich foods, promising to avoid the kitchen for a week, and then find ourself back with family grazing over leftovers three hours later.
Stock up on healthy snacks
Snacking is one of the best ways to avoid over-eating, especially if you do it right with veggies, fruits, and foods that won’t fill you up with wasted calories. Try some carrots, almonds, celery with peanut butter, raw peppers, hummus, an apple or some edamame can be great snacks between meals that will ensure you don’t gorge yourself at dinner. Snacking healthily works – filling up on French Onion Dip and Ruffles doesn’t work!
Focus on socializing
Most families and friends tend to gather in the kitchen, around the snacks, during the holiday season. Instead of making the function about the food, focus on socializing. Avoid chatting in the kitchen – step outside if it’s nice. Head into the living room and turn on the game. Anything to avoid standing in the kitchen and snacking while you catch up. This is a time to see family and friends, not eat until your pants don’t fit.
Track what you eat
Use your food tracker!!! It will keep you on schedule for what you can eat, and will help you maintain a healthy diet. Studies show people who use food trackers are far more likely to lose weight in the long run. It’s amazing, and oftentimes disheartening, to find our what we put in our bodies. Try it for a week, and see how easy it is to forget about that pack of Cheetos, or the extra slice of pie. Those calories add up.
Hydrate with water
Soda. Beer. Alcohol. Eggnog. Fruit Juice. These are popular wasted calories over the Holiday Season. Your body is over 50% water. Refill it like a gas tank (for way cheaper!). It’s also true that drinking water and being properly hydrated can help offset hunger in most people. Basically, if you’re hungry, drink water first! Water is the key to burning the calories you consume, and hydrating yourself with the proper method will help make sure you meet your holiday weight gain goals.