- Category: Eat Right Featured Articles
by Angela Aladjem RD, LD
Hot chocolate, cookies, wine, eggnog, pumpkin pie. High calorie, sweet foods lurk around every corner during the holidays. From your office to home to your child’s school, there will be parties and treat bags. The holidays can be quite the hurdle to jump when you are trying to make healthy eating a daily habit. Most people are struggling to lose weight, and the holidays usually help tip the scales in the opposite direction. While there are horror stories out there about gaining 7-8 pounds, the truth is, most people will put on a pound or two. The problem arises when this weight is not lost after New Year's Day. Instead, it sticks around until next Halloween, when the vicious cycle begins again.
So what is a person to do? No one wants to end up having to battle extra bulge come January 1. I have good news, you can maintain your weight over the holidays. The bad news? It won’t be the easiest and you will have to be strong and put some limits on yourself. Read on for some tips to help you this holiday season.
Don’t show up on an empty tank. If you go to a party hungry, you are going to overeat. If you show up with some food in your stomach, you will probably be a little more controlled. Have something filling before you go, like a bowl of veggie soup.
Remember there is more to the holidays than food. The holidays are about enjoying times with friends and family. I realize that sometimes it can be hard to deal with certain members of your clan, but try to appreciate the time, which is usually few and far between, that you get to spend with them. Focus on chatting it up with everyone, and this could keep you from stuffing your emotions at the buffet table.
Savor the time and the flavor. Try not to rush through the food. The faster you try to cram it in, the more you are likely to eat. Put your fork down between bites, have a sip of water. Try to chew (you aren’t on your 30 minute lunch break) and enjoy.
Beat the buffet. Pick up a small plate when you get up to the table. This way, you have less room. Think about the healthy plate when you get up there and focus on filling up half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, if available. It’s okay to stick with some of the appetizers, like a veggie tray, when the time comes for the main event. Also, try to pick wisely. Limit the creamy and fried foods.
Be thoughtful about consuming your calories. There are some sweets I look forward to at the holidays, because they aren’t around the rest of the year. Some people would rather have a drink than dessert, others vice versa. Try to pick one indulgence or the other, but not both. And if you do have both, half the portion.
Keep Moving. It is important to fit fitness in, even if only a few short 20 minute bouts each day. Exercise helps raise your resting metabolic rate, making the extra calories a little less detrimental.
Sleep. It is very hard to deal with the stress and emotion of the holidays if you are not well rested. Make sure you take the time to wind down at night and allow yourself room for 6-8 hours a night.
Above all, enjoy the season. Take care of yourself. Be well!
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