The holiday season is truly a wonderful time of the year for many of us, but it can also be a challenging time if you are trying to maintain a healthy regimen. After all, food is usually a part of every gathering with family, friends, and co-workers. Research has indicated that the average person gains 1-5 lbs each holiday season, and the same research shows that most people never lose the extra weight. Over the years, these pounds can add up. It’s therefore important to have a strategy to make it easier to stay on track and avoid gaining those unwanted pounds in the first place. Following are some tactics for the next 8 weeks to help you have a healthier and guilt free holiday season.
NEVER arrive hungry.
While it seems like a good strategy, skipping meals so you can splurge later almost always backfires. It’s hard to make good choices and practice portion control when your stomach is growling, and in the end, you’ll probably eat far more calories as a result. Instead, eat a healthy snack or light meal before you leave the house to curb your appetite – a small bowl of cereal, half of a turkey sandwich, or a piece of fruit with a yogurt will all do the trick. The 200 or so calories you spend at home will likely save you a thousand (or more) later on.
Before you start putting food on your plate, walk around the buffet table, check out the dessert table, and make a plan to spend most of your calories on the healthiest choices you can find. Fill your plate with colorful, low-calorie vegetables and lean meats like turkey or fish. Add smaller amounts of higher calorie potatoes, stuffing, and anything creamy or saucy. Stick to just a taste of the desserts, and pass on foods that don’t tempt your taste buds.
Choose this not that.
Swapping out a few high calorie choices for lower calorie choices can really add up.
Mindless eating – scarfing down food with little thought of what it is – is not a healthy practice. But mindful eating – appreciating each bite with an awareness of what you’re putting into your body – isn’t just a healthier approach, it’s a deeply joyful way of eating.