Tips to Maintain your Weight during the Holidays
The holidays are upon us. It’s time to spend time with loved ones, shop until we drop, make holiday cards, attend (socially distanced) functions of all types, deck the halls, bake, cook and EAT!
Yes, I said exactly what you were thinking. It’s not truly the holidays unless we eat holiday treats and enjoy our favorite holiday dishes.
The only problem is that the average American gains 1-2 pounds from Thanksgiving through New Years.
That may not seem like a lot of weight. Perhaps you were thinking it would be 5-10 pounds. However, studies show that most Americans never lose those 1-2 pounds per year. If you’ve gained 2 pounds each year between 25-40 years old, you’d be carrying around an additional 30 pounds. Now, that’s a lot. One thing I’ve done myself and encouraged others to do is to simply maintain your weight over the holiday season. If we can do this, we can start fresh at the new year. So, I’d like to spend some time talking tips to maintain during this most celebratory season.
Tips to Maintain During the Holidays
The first thing to consider is calendaring all of your events. This will allow you to see a snapshot view of how many celebrations and where they fall within your busy season. Having this view allows you to be honest with yourself and possibly decide when you’ll be enjoying drinks or even desserts. It may be obvious that you cannot “celebrate” every course at every get-together.
Once you’ve made some hard decisions around when & what you’ll enjoy all of the holiday fixings, you can make a reminder note on your calendar of your strategy. In an effort to ensure there is at least one healthy food option that you enjoy, you may offer to bring a dish to the event. This will also ease the host’s burden.
You may be guilty (like me) of “saving” all your calories before a gathering. Don’t!
Instead, attend when your appetite is already satisfied. Get a protein-packed snack and eat it before you leave for the party. This will keep you from overeating and overeating calorically dense, high-fat foods. If you’re attending a party with a buffet, serve yourself set-up, do a lap around the food table(s) and take in all of the offerings.
I like to make sure that I get a chance to sample all of the seasonal goodness. I concentrate on items that are not common outside of the holiday season. I also tend to choose homemade items versus store-bought, if that’s an option.
If you are hungry, maybe you came directly from work and haven’t had an opportunity to have a protein packed snack, you can begin your meal by filling a plate to the brim with veggies and greens.
Don’t you hate once you’ve filled your plate and realize that you didn’t get one of your favorite dishes? Me, too. So, don’t do it. Plan your attack before grabbing a plate.
Before you begin to navigate your way through the line, commit to yourself that you won’t be getting seconds, and stick to it.
Depending on your pre-determined strategy for the particular event, you may consider using an appetizer plate versus a full-size dinner plate. The size of the plate will make a difference on the volume of food you get, and the volume of the food you get will contribute to the volume of food you eat.
Once you have your filled plate in hand, take a seat away from the food table.
Something else to note is that it does make sense to get a plate rather than put bite-sized appetizers onto a napkin. A napkin sets you up to go back and forth and “refill.”
Instead, take some time. Stay a bit. A plate has a sense of permanence when compared with a napkin.
During your gathering, be sure to take time to visit and socialize. Spend the majority of your time catching up with others you don’t often see.
Change the focus from food and drink to visiting and meeting new people.
While eating, do so mindfully. Take time to appreciate your food, the way it looks, smells and tastes. Be grateful.
Now chew slowly and take a sip of water between bites. It also helps to put down your utensils after each bite.
Take your time. Enjoy.
If you are hosting a party, it helps to keep the food off the table where people eat. So, designate a food area and force yourself (and others) to get up to get seconds.
While you’re cooking and baking away, pop in a piece of sugar-free gum to keep you from tasting every few minutes. This could easily save you 100 calories or so.
Throughout the holiday season, STAY HYDRATED! Walk around with a water bottle. Drink a glass of water before each meal. Remember that many times when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty. So, keep hydrated to avoid overeating.
When you pair our holiday season weight maintenance tips with our “Naughty & Nice Holiday Foods Guide,” you are sure to have a successful (and uneventful weight-wise) holiday season!
I wish you all a lovely holiday season and cannot wait for what the new year has in store!