The Holidays are here! For most that means parties, family gatherings, dinners, and celebrations of all kinds. It's our chance to let loose, celebrate and have some fun (even if it's just a Netflix night in front of the TV with some fudge covered Oreos.)
It also means we are bombarded at home, at work, and even at the doctor's office, with treats, cakes, cookies, pastas, casseroles and the like.
We want to enjoy the holidays, but no one wants to pay the price afterwards when they step on the scale or try to fit in their favorite jeans. So here are the top 10 tips to avoid gaining weight over the holidays...while still having a great time!
1) Smaller plates
Sounds simple, but it works! People often overload their plates during the holidays and we end up eating more than we intended. If you limit yourself by using a smaller plate, there will be less to overeat! No small plates at the party? Improvise and only use half of your plate. When you are filling up your plate, use silverware or a napkin to block half of the plate and keep you from using the whole thing. And sorry, no seconds!
2) Balance the food groups
If you want to enjoy that homemade mac n’ cheese or pecan pie, go for it! Just balance out the food groups on your plate. Make sure for every carb, you’ve got a protein and some fiber. Think meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, veggies, nuts & whole grains. Doing this will help fill you up sooner and help increase your metabolism.
3) Don’t drink your calories
Alcoholic beverages, milkshakes, eggnog, soda, they all can have a ton of sugar and calories. Just be a bit mindful that this one thing can totally sabotage a perfectly good plan to get through the holidays without weight gain.
4) Nighty night
Get some sleep! When you are tired, you tend to be hungrier and have a lower metabolism.
5) Take the stairs & walk home instead of driving
If there are stairs-take them. If you’re going to the neighbors and it’s not five feet of snow outside-walk there and back instead of driving. You can also do a family walk after dinner. I did that last year while visiting relatives and we all felt so much better after. It was also a great opportunity to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.
6) Sign up for a race or other organized physical activity
Think a 5k or a charity walk. These days there are tons of events where you can walk (or run, swim...) to raise money and awareness for great causes and get in shape at the same time.
7) Remember that taste testing calories do count
Pay attention to your snacking factor, especially when you are cooking or baking your favorite party dish. There is a difference between taking a taste to see if it needs seasoning, and nibbling at it throughout the entire process! If you aren’t careful you end up full before you even serve the dish!
8) Have a master plan
Think ahead and prepare something healthier for the dinner/event/party. There are a tremendous number of ways you can modify recipes these days to make them a little better for you and your figure. It’s worth it to figure this out and then you know there will be at least one healthier option at the party.
9) Moderation is key
Don’t eat the calorie rich holiday foods every day, take a break and eat healthier on the off days. On the days you do live it up- don’t go overboard. Have a mindset of “I will eat this, but not that.” Give yourself a goal and stick to it!
10) Don’t eat and drink just to occupy your time
We’ve all been there...stuck in a boring conversation or being left all alone in a room of party goers who are engaged with other people. These kinds of situations come up a lot and food and beverages can become “something to do.” This kind of consumption is mindless and often, we don’t even enjoy it. Don’t let yourself eat or drink just to have something to do.
Have a fantastic holiday season! Here's to the best one yet!