Most of us have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. We love getting together with friends and family while enjoying homemade meals, catching up on old times and opening up presents. And then there is the part we hate—the excessive amounts of unhealthy food, alcohol and stress that we have to deal with during this time that often leads to some extra pounds by season’s end. Is it possible to fight holiday weight gain or is it something that we just have to accept as being part of the season? The answer to that lies in your hands.
You do not have to be stingy with your food or starve yourself to fight holiday weight gain. What you do need, however, is a plan of attack that includes some preparation on your part as well as a bit of commitment and dedication. Here are some quick tips to get you started:
Keep up with your regular exercise routine. Do not let the holidays derail your workouts. Even if you cannot commit to the full amount of time you usually do, exercising for a half-hour can be just as effective as an hour. Just be sure to add some intensity to get the most out of it. Exercising will also help keep holiday stress in check which can also lead to weight gain.
Strategize your eating. If you know you have a party or some special holiday event to go to where there will be lots of forbidden foods, make sure you eat healthy the entire day leading up to the event. So now you do not have to worry about indulging a bit since you saved some room for those extra calories.
Take some food with you. Yes, this may go against social norms, but there is no reason why you cannot bring something to an occasion that you can eat without feeling guilty. Some people may get offended by this, so you may want to brown bag it with close family and friends who you know will not object.
Bring a healthy dessert. Chances are you will be bringing something to your host whether it is a pot luck meal or just a kind gesture. Since dessert is where most of us usually get out of control, bring a healthy version of your favorite pie, cake or cookie and enjoy it with less guilt. Who knows—others may be pleasantly surprised to see how good healthy can be. Check out Skinny Mom’s Skinny Desserts for some ideas!
Do not let one day ruin a whole month. Too often we have one day where we totally lose our will power and enjoy everything in sight. It happens. But what you do not want to do is let that one day dictate the remaining days of the year. Your single day of over indulgence does not need to turn into weeks of eating too much and exercising too little. Accept the one day of gluttony and go back to your normal way of eating.
Snack smart. You know that this time of year means offices, businesses and any other place you frequent is going to be stocked with holiday goodies for you to enjoy. Instead of picking one at each table or desk every time you go somewhere, pack a healthy snack before you leave the house and reach for that before reaching for the holiday-coated chocolates and cookies.
Just say no. Having platters of food or trays of pastries placed in front of you does not mean you have to eat it. Try to exercise some will power or, at the least, take stock of what is being offered and choose the healthier options.
Holiday weight gain does not have to be a given. Some careful planning and keeping to your already existing healthy lifestyle will minimize any chances of you being one of the many who are ready to throw their scales out the window come New Year’s Day.