This Thursday will mark the start of the holiday season for 2017. Although excited for this special time of the year, you may also be worrying about weight gain. So many of my clients do. But this does not have to be the season of excess pounds on the scale if you give some thoughts to the upcoming days ahead.
The time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day has to be the hardest few weeks to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle. There is the constant temptation of sweets, treats and just way too much food in general.
I would like to share a few tips with you that have helped me in the past to stay on track between now and the end of the year so you can maintain your weight, or maybe even shed some!
1. Don’t show up hungry to any party, event or gathering. Make sure you eat healthy before you go to any holiday get together. There will be the temptation by all sorts of unhealthy foods. Eat a small meal or snack before heading out the door, and that is full of fiber and lean protein. A few good choices are a salad with a sprinkling of cheese, raw vegetable sticks with hummus or a half a nut butter sandwich on whole grain bread.
2. Drink some water before you go and alternate higher calorie drinks like alcoholic beverages, eggnog or hot chocolate with water while you are at the holiday party. Drinks can have a lot of hidden calories in them, so watch out.
3. Fill you plate with some good foods first. When you arrive, if hors d’oeuvres are set out, and/or dinner is buffet style, peruse your options before making your selections. Choose high fiber foods such as some raw vegetables, but go easy on the dip. A handful of mixed nuts is very filling and high in nutritional value. If available take a plateful of salad with a low-fat dressing and enjoy to your hearts content any fresh fruit you find.
4. Eat several small meals a day. This old tip holds especially true during the holiday season. We tend to skip meals and indulge in one large holiday dinner with the entire family. Don’t starve yourself all day. Most importantly start your day with a good, healthy breakfast and make sure you have some healthy portable snacks available as you rush through your busy days. You will be able to enjoy your holiday more by stabilizing your blood sugar. You don’t want to spend the day being grumpy from not eating for hours, or be the first ready for a nap after overeating.
5. Use the busy shopping season to burn some extra calories. As tempting as shopping online is, if you have the time, walk away from the computer and head to the mall. Park a little further away, or take your time and do a round of window shopping all through the mall before you buy. Every few extra steps that you take count. For extra motivation to get more walking in, consider wearing a pedometer or fitness tracker.
6. Take some time to relax. The holidays can be a very stressful season if we let them. Many tend to overeat or self-medicate with food when stressed. Work in some extra time just for you. Sit in front of the fire with a good book or your favorite magazine, get a massage, take a bath or go for a walk. Do whatever works for you to calm you down and help you de-stress.
Above all, enjoy the holidays and remember they are not only about food but more importantly about family and friends spending quality time together. Treat yourself to some new holiday scented candles, listen to your favorite tunes, or go for a drive through a lit up neighborhood this year. Have fun during this special time of the year and enjoy that occasional cookie.