In the next several months how many celebrations you are going to be a part of and how many of those will involve food? All of them? Have you thought about how are you going to manage your weight over this holiday season? Usually people gain over 10 pounds between now and the first sightings of Spring? That’s a lot of weight that you really won’t want to see once summer comes and you have to pull out your bathing suit.
Your normal schedule can be turned upside down with cocktail parties, cookie exchanges and/or guests coming to visit over the holidays. Even though it’s hard to resist temptations all around you during the holidays, there are simple things you can do that can keep the holiday pounds off. Below are the top 5 strategies…
- Make it a goal to maintain your weight, instead of lose weight, through the holidays. Putting pressure on yourself to lose weight during times of increased temptation and irregular eating and exercise routines can backfire. One slip up and you may just give up. Instead, focus on healthy food choices most of the time and indulgences wit moderate portions occasionally. This will allow you to enjoy the once-a-year special meals without pushing up the scale. Every little calorie can add up, so focus on which holiday treats and meals are worth the extra calories, then enjoy.
- Don’t go to the party starving. Curb your appetite and reduce the temptation of gobbling everything you can at a party by eating a snack full of protein or fiber before you arrive. Protein choices like high protein Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese sticks or slices of low-sodium deli meat, help curb your appetite and reduce cravings. Snacks full of fiber like raw carrots, apples or cucumbers can help you feel full and take the edge off of hunger before you get to the party. Arriving at the celebration with a little bit of food in your belly can make all the holiday treats less tempting. You will have a clear mind to choose your meal wisely, instead of a hunger pains that can drive towards over indulging.
- Beverages add up. Many people forget to think about how many calories their holiday beverages can add up to. Usually the first thing hostesses at parties ask you when you arrive is “What can I get you to drink?” Think about if you’d rather spend your calories on food or beverages. A bottle of light beer or a glass of wine spritzer can be as low as 100 calories each, where as Egg Nog or blended drinks like Daiquiris can be as high as 250 calories each or more. If you are having more than two of these kinds of beverages, the calories can really add up. Try alternating them with calorie free choices like diet soda or water through the night so you can keep the calories at a minimum.
- Walk the buffet. Buffets are common at holiday parties and are full of many foods and treats you don’t get to enjoy at other times of the year. Before you load up your plate, walk down the buffet and look at what is available. Prioritize what looks good and what you really want to spend your calories on, then go to the back of the line and choose wisely. Just because it is there doesn’t mean you have to put it on your plate and eat it. Just take small spoonfuls of exactly what you think you might like. There are so many choices, large portions are unnecessary. Just a taste can usually satisfy. And remember, dessert is probably just around the corner, so save some calories on a small portion of a tasty treat or split it with someone.
- Find time to exercise. The holiday season can get us out of our normal eating and exercise routine, but don’t use it as an excuse not to exercise at all. Find even small windows of time to fit in a quick walk or run or short exercise class. Exercise is a great way to burn those extra calories you may be taking in during this time of year (remember those iced snowman cookies you ate after lunch?) Not only will you be burning extra calories, it will help keep your energy up and your stress down during this hectic season.
Follow these tips through the holiday season and help keep those extra pounds from adding up.