Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

All of the festivities, the family gatherings, and the drinks and sweets can really add up, and by the end of the holidays, it's hard not to feel as if the celebrations didn’t wreak havoc on your waistline.

Up Your Workouts. Add an extra 15 minutes to your workout or workout at a higher intensity for a few days before and after a really big splurge day. Better yet up your workouts for the whole holiday season.

Save Calories. Make substitutions to save some extra calories for the party day. Use skim milk instead of whole, light cream cheese instead of regular, applesauce in baked goods instead of oil. Add more fruits and veggies to your meals and eat them first so you get full on the lower calories before you eat the meat and potatoes.

Avoid an Overly Restrictive Diet. If you enjoy your favorite foods in small portions, you'll feel more satisfied. Trying to stay away from foods you enjoy may leave you feeling deprived, which may cause you to eat more than you intended to.

Eat Before You Go. Rules to live by: never go grocery shopping while hungry, and similarly, never hit a holiday party on an empty stomach. You’ll be less tempted to overindulge if your belly’s full of something healthy. Have a small meal or snack beforehand that includes low-fat protein such as low-fat cheese or cottage cheese or try having a piece of fruit or some cut up veggies.

Bring Food. Bring a healthy dish or lower calorie version of your favorite dish to the party. If you bring a fresh vegetable tray with low-fat dip, a salad with low calorie dressing, or some cut-up fruit, many people will appreciate and choose the lighter item.

Scan the buffet table. Use a small plate to avoid overindulging. Make sure you fill your plate with high-fiber nutritious foods and lean protein. Minimize the amount of treats you eat by enjoying a healthy and delicious buffet selection first such as the vegetable.

Choose One Treat. Once at the party, choose one thing to indulge in and make it good. No chips — you can have those any old time. Pick something you only get during the holidays. Look over your dessert choices and then pick your favorite.

Say No to Liquid Calories. It is easy way to consume more calories than you need, so avoid juice, punch, sports and energy drinks, eggnog, alcohol and soda. They are a disaster at any time of the year, but especially during the holidays. Have a glass of water for every drink you consume.

Don’t Skip Meals. It’s tempting to skip meals to make up for whatever nightmare food you’ll eat later, but just like the empty-stomach rule, if you’re starving, your rational mind will be unavailable for healthy food choices. Eat small meals all day to avoid going nuts at the buffet table.

Don’t Eat Past Your Hunger. If you feel comfortably full, stop eating. Start learning what it feels like to feel “just right” rather than uncomfortably stuffed.

Moderate Eating is Best. That means eating one plate of food, leaving the seconds for another meal.

How do you maintain your weight during the holidays? Do you exercise more or do you give yourself a room to gain a little, knowing you'll get rid of it in January?

1 comment:

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