Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
People often joke about the five to ten pounds they think they put on over the holidays. It’s common office fodder, and, sometimes it seems inevitable that gaining wait between mid-November and January 2 of the following year will happen. (That is also why I try to avoid the gym in January – all the New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight make it very crowded!)
I read somewhere that in reality, most people only gain one pound during the holiday season; however, they never take it off. So, you can imagine that over the years, the single holiday pound can add up to quite an extra payload in your pa-dunk-a-dunk if you’re not careful.
But, it really doesn’t have to be. I thought I’d share a few tips for minimizing the potential dining damage as we go into the finishing straight of this year’s holiday feasts!
- Eat before you feast. This one is sort of like the “don’t go to the grocery store hungry” principle. Don’t go to a holiday gathering hungry. A healthy snack before you go – such as veggies and hummus, some plain yogurt and berries, or, even a low-sugar protein bar can help you feel satisfied when you get there so you don’t pig out on the pigs in a blanket. In the same regard, skipping meals because you think you will be eating a lot at a party is not a great idea. You will just overeat for sure and feel yucky by the time you are done! But, if you eat your normal breakfast and lunch, you are more likely to eat more moderately at your party.
- Water is your friend. This is no extra-special secret, but it really does help. If you are at a holiday gathering where the hosts are serving calorie-laden drinks such as eggnog, beer, wine, or spirits, simply drink one glass of water for every “treat” drink. Over a few hours, this trick can save you hundreds of calories. It will also help you feel fuller so you won’t be as prone to over-eat.
- Fill a plate with reasonable portions of whatever you want – just don’t stand around mindlessly chatting and eating. If you are more conscious of what you are putting in your mouth, you are less likely to overdo it. Munching from the chip bowl while talking to Uncle Jerry for 45 minutes could result in hundreds of calories you didn’t even realize you were eating.
- Visualize the amount of workout you will have to do to burn off your choices. This one works really well for me. I know that I have to run a mile at a moderate pace to burn off about 125 calories. So, 10 minutes of workout to undo simply 125 calories. A slice of pumpkin pie is worth a 40 minute run to me, but some things are not. I base my decisions around the implications later!
- Eat plenty of raw veggies. Most parties have the crudité plate that is stacked with fresh broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. If you are not sure that there will be a veggie plate – voila! You have your answer to “What can I bring?” Be sure to eat plenty of raw veggies at your gathering, because they fill you up with very few calories, just be careful what you dip them in. Hummus = good! Ranch = not so good!
The holidays are a special time, and they don’t have to be a time where you worry about weight gain amongst everything else that is going on around you. A few simple preparations can really make a world of difference as you socialize around the holiday potluck.
Happy Holidays, everyone. I hope you have a wonderful time with friends and family.