The holidays don't have to wreck all of your weight loss progress. Sure there are temptations around every corner but you can tackle them with a few sure-fire strategies. Here are some tips to keep you on track during the holidays so you can enjoy and still manage your weight.
1. Choose what you love. When it comes to holiday parties there are often many not so healthy food choices. Don't eat food just because it's there and don't feel like you have to restrict yourself from eating things you enjoy. Find some balance. Pick one or two foods you absolutely love and fill the rest of your plate up with healthy salads, vegetables, and lean meats.
2. Baking Traditions. Don't feel like you have to give up your time honored family holiday recipes. Bake enough for a few days for your family and give the rest away for gifts to your friends and neighbors. This way you won't be tempted with these wonderful baked goods for weeks.
3. Don't Arrive Hungry. So many parties and so many wonderful dishes and desserts. Arriving to a party hungry can lead you to eat too much. Eat a high protein snack before your holiday get together to avoid feeling starving when you sit down to eat. This will help you to avoid overeating once the food arrives.
4. Watch the Alcohol. Between work, friends, and family, there are several holiday parties to attend which for many people means more alcoholic beverages. Holiday mixed drinks can pack an enormous amount of calories. One cup of hot buttered rum can cost you 400 calories while traditional eggnog can add 350 calories. Not to mention, alcohol can slow down fat metabolism leading you to store more calories than burn them. Limiting the alcohol this season can help you to keep your weight management goals on target.
5. Get Some Activity. You know you will be indulging a bit more than you usually do so getting some activity will go a long way to burn off some of those extra calories. Go for a daily walk, go to the gym, or take an exercise class during this time of year to help you balance your energy intake (calories) with your physical activity.
6. Get Back to Your Healthy Habits. According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the average weight gain of the study's participants from Thanksgiving to New Year's was less than one pound. The weight increase is not dramatic like many people would think; however, what is important is that the participants did not reverse their slight weight gain during the following months. This goes to show how important it is to keep your focus during and after the holidays. It is not a time to let go of all the healthy changes you have made but instead, a time to find balance. Stay on track during and after the holidays instead of slipping into old patterns.
By Meri Raffetto RD, LDN
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