11 Tips to Help You Enjoy the Holidays Without Packing on the Pounds
Posted Nov 21 2008 10:43pm
During the holidays, food temptations are around every corner. Family get-togethers, office parties, and tins packed with homemade goodies offer little escape. But if you follow the eleven tips below, you’ll survive the season a little happier and healthier.
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1. Psych yourself
Don't tell yourself, "It's okay, it's the holidays." That opens the door to 6 weeks of splurging.
2. Back away from the food
As obvious as it sounds, don't stand near the food at parties. At a buffet? Eating a little of everything guarantees high calories. Decide on three or four things, only one of which is high in calories. Save that for last so there's less chance of overeating.
3. Stop, drop and roll
Instead of burning the candle into the wee hours every night, just STOP what you're doing; DROP into bed; and ROLL over! Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can cause weight gain.
4. Get moving!
It's all about calories in vs. calories out, so make exercise a nonnegotiable priority. Try squeezing exercise minutes into each day to get your heart pumping. Ten minutes is better than nothing. In fact, 10 minutes in the morning is often the best time for weight loss during the holiday since our days get busy with extra to-do’s and social events.
5. Stick with the 5-a-day plan
Make sure to get your fruits and vegetables. The excess sugar often consumed during the holidays gives us an energy high and then a crash. So fill up on healthy food -- eat five fruits and vegetables a day BEFORE you allow yourself to snack on holiday treats.
6. Don't be tempted by temptation
Avoid constantly putting yourself in situations that tempt you. For example, don’t walk through the break room at work 10 times a day when you know it's filled with holiday treats and candies. Spend a few minutes in the morning packing a healthy snack (like almonds, a piece of fruit or a yogurt) so you'll have a healthy weight-loss alternative. Remember, EAT before you meet. Have this small meal before you go to any parties: a hard-boiled egg, an apple, and a thirst quencher (water, seltzer, diet soda, tea).
7. Liquid calories count
Holidays are notorious for tempting us with drinks we wouldn't normally consume. Alcohol offers no nutrients - just empty calories, and we often forget to count them. Eggnog coffee drinks with whipped cream, hot toddies, spiced rum, these drinks can have as many calories as a personal pan pizza! If you want to go for the alcohol, alternate alcoholic drinks with diet-friendly, calorie-free sparkling water.
8. Be social and generous
Take your camera and be the designated photographer. You can't eat while snapping wriggling kids. Brush up your small talk; talking slows down eating. And finally, give it away! After your party company leaves, give away leftover food to neighbors, doormen, or delivery people, or take it to work the next day.
9. Save it for something special
Indulge only in new, interesting foods; have one taste of each. Avoid feeling deprived and distracted by food all evening long - allow yourself one dessert or holiday truffle per event. When you’re done, destroy the plate. If you've had enough to eat but others are still picking, dump salt over any food you have left.
10. Pace yourself
Eating slowly doesn't just decrease the amount of food you consume, it also fills you up faster. Healthy women who were instructed to wolf down their meals ate more food (by nearly 70 calories) but felt less satisfied than women who were told to take their time (21 minutes longer, to be exact), according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. To get into a slower rhythm, take smaller bites, chew thoroughly, and put your fork down between each one.
11. Write it down
Just the simple act of recording what you eat can help you cut calories. In a recent study of 1,685 adults published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the more food records a person kept, the more weight they lost. For a modern method, try e-mailing the information to yourself or using a computer program such as http://www.prevention.com/foodlog.