The holidays have arrived and for many of us this means being surrounded by family, friends and extra calories. This is also the time of year when Americans tend to gain the most weight. What’s the problem with adding just a few extra pounds over the holidays? According to the National Institute of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain over the holidays. Of course, never gaining it in the first place is the best tactic, but this is sometimes easier said than done. Here are some tips to help you move through this holiday season just as healthy as when it began.
- Avoid Arriving to Parties Hungry. Try to get a healthy snack in before leaving the house. If you are leaving from work to a party, consider packing some nuts or vegetables to snack on before you get there. This will ensure that you don’t devore everything in sight due to an increased appetite.
- Fill Your Plate With Fruits, Vegetables and Protein. Go for the lightest snacks with the most fiber. This will give you more nutrients, less calories and make you feel full faster. If faced with a buffet, use this tactic, but be mindful of dips, sauces and dressings. They can add calories quickly. Shrimp cocktail, white turkey meat and other proteins can help you feel full for a longer period of time.
- Pace Yourself. Consider the holiday spreads to be a marathon of eating rather than a sprint. It takes the average individual’s brain 20 minutes to catch up to what the stomach is saying. If you can pace yourself to eat slowly and chew well for 20-30 minutes, chances are, you will eat less.
- Set Your Alcohol Limit Pre-Party. Yes, cocktails contribute to extra empty calories, but this is also about self control. After a few drinks you may be more tempted to say yes to that extra slice of pie. Stay in control of your appetite and your goals.
- Limit Samples While Cooking. Trying that gravy to make sure it is properly seasoned is of benefit to guests, but after 5 or 6 spoon fulls it is anything but a benefit to you. Be mindful of what you need to sample and how much.
- Work Out A Dessert Strategy. What do you look forward to every holiday? Is that the one thing you’ll allow yourself? Or maybe you like multiple desserts. Try decreasing the portion sizes to “sample size” of those things you like. Don’t deny yourself a treat, but remember- it is only a treat, not a meal.
- Work The Pre and Post Burn. Maybe you head to the gym or do a short exercise routine the morning of your party. Perhaps you start a new tradition of a family walk following dinner. Whatever it is, get yourself moving a little extra this time of year. It’s not only about the calories, but about feeling good about yourself and enjoying your time and your family time.