So many of us look forward to this season because of the joy we have in sharing it with our family and friends. But for some of us, we tread into the holidays with mixed emotions wary of the impending annual Battle of the Bulge. It is a battle that we believe each year we can handle, but come January, we find ourselves regretting some of the eating choices we made as we try squeeze into our jeans while avoiding the sight of the bathroom scale at all costs! And then we ask ourselves the same question every year, “Why did I let myself do that?” And of course, we answer ourselves by promising that this year is going to be different….right after I finish off the leftovers!
But it doesn’t have to be that way! I would like to give you some helpful tips that will make this holiday season easier for you as you face the barrage of food that you know will be tempting you. Yes, it will be there! But with a bit of discipline, will power and some practical strategies, facing the beast will not be so difficult. So here we go….
1. Watch your portion size. When you go to a party or out for dinner, remember, this is not an eating contest. Food is our fuel. Our tanks were meant to only hold so much and overfilling them becomes a waist (pun intended)! Eat small portions and do not go back for seconds and do not create a “pile” of food on your plate. Make sure that everything that is on your plate is completely visible. This will help you to control your portion sizes. Try to choose portions of high grade fuel and stay away from large amounts of breads, pastas and sweets. Remember, a treat is called a treat because you don’t consume it much or very often. Keep it that way!
2. Never arrive at a party hungry. Sometimes we are of the mindset that we need to starve ourselves before we eat out so that we can save room for lots of good stuff or eat our money’s worth if we are going to a restaurant. This is a bad idea! Why? Because we will eat more than we should! Before you leave the house, or before the guests arrive to your house, eat a small snack to curb your hunger and to keep your sugar in check. A small handful of nuts, a cup of yogurt or some other low fat snack works wonders. By the time the meal is served, you won't be ravenously hungry and you will be able to use the serving spoons as serving spoons, not steam shovels!
3. Pace yourself. It is going to be a long party and you have all night ahead of you. If there is a buffet staring you in the face, take a small plate and put a varied selection of food on it so that all of your taste buds will be satisfied. Do not stack your food. Chew your food slowly and allow what you have eaten to signal your belly that it is full. You be in control of the food. Do not let the food be in control of you. And remember…we are not cattle…no grazing!
4. Keep your mind off of the food. If you are planning on spending time with family and friends, then spend the time with them and not the food table. Keep yourself in conversation or play a game. Find things to do that will divert your attention from the food. Standing around the food table is a bad idea!
5. Limit your alcohol intake. Aside from extra calories and the fact that alcohol can slow down fat burning processes, too much alcohol may not allow you to have control over what you are eating.
6. Keep yourself hydrated. A glass of water before a meal will help to fill you up. Drinking eight 8 oz glasses of water a day is a great way to help keep the pounds off.
7. Take a walk with friends. After a holiday meal it is a great idea to go out walking. This will help to burn calories and keep you away from the food! Also, there is something psychological about taking a walk. It will help you to feel healthier and more in control of yourself. You may think twice, later, about what you are going to eat! After all, you don’t want to waste a perfectly good walk!
So there it is. Seven tips to help you navigate your way through all of the holiday cheer! Don’t get worked up about not losing weight over the holidays. Instead, be content with just not adding on any extra pounds. Enjoy your holiday. And I guarantee you will enjoy it more as the zipper on those jeans goes up easily in January!
Happy Healthy Holidays,