Beating Holiday Temptations
Avoid holiday weight gain with these tips.
Family gatherings, office parties, and cookie swaps. Everywhere you go during the holidays there’s yummy food to tempt you. A gingerbread cookie here, a cocktail there, and a glass of eggnog quickly add up the calories. If you’re overweight, there’s a good chance your weight problem originated with the holidays and snowballed from there.
But take heart, because there’s good news! You can still enjoy the festivities and cheer without gaining a pound. The trick is moderation, an active lifestyle, and having a plan. Here are a few strategies to help you beat the odds when it comes to holiday weight gain.
Before the holiday season starts it’s important to set your diet and fitness goals. On your calendar, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, pencil in your workouts so they won’t get overlooked by shopping, parties, and pageants.
Don’t wait until you’re standing in front of a buffet loaded with treats to make diet decisions. Have a plan before attending the party. Assess your daily calorie goals. Can you afford to enjoy a piece of pie or get second helpings? Decide ahead of time what you should avoid and what you’re able to enjoy in moderation.
Despite the joy of the holidays, you know they can be stressful. The shopping, long lines, traffic, hectic schedules, and strained family dynamics can cause stress and anxiety. If you’re like many people, you may find yourself turning to food for comfort. When you notice your stress level increasing this holiday seasons, instead of eating a bag of chocolates or a pint of peppermint ice cream, head to the gym. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve tension and manage stress.
Restaurants and events with unlimited buffets are dangerous places if you’re on a diet, but with the right strategies you don’t have to miss out on all the fun. Choose a small plate and only go through the line once. Don’t pile your foods on top of each other. Avoid foods with sauces, dips, and gravies and fill the majority of your plate with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Eat slowly to enjoy each flavor and listen to your body’s cues for fullness. And take time to enjoy the people you’re with. In other words, try to talk more than you eat!
After you’ve eaten your meal, don’t stand near the food table. Keep temptations out of sight and you’ll be less likely to give in. If you know you won’t be able to stick to your diet at a party, eat a healthy meal beforehand so you’re not even hungry.
It’s easy to forget drinks have calories, too. A few drinks quickly add up your calorie count. A can of bear contains up to 150 calories, a glass of wine 120, and a cocktail easily over 200. It’s not just the drinks’ calories you need to worry about, but also the fact that after a few drinks you’ll lose your self-control and overeat. If you do choose to drink, limit yourself to one and sip on it slowly.
Fit in Fitness
Skipping a workout here and there is expected, but try to maintain some consistency with exercise during the holidays. Don’t wait until the New Year to make exercise a priority when you can start today. A great way to do this is by incorporating exercise into your family gatherings. Go for a hike, play a game of tag football, or dance to holiday music.
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