Indulge This Holiday Season Without Increasing Your Waistline
- KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE The first thing to consider is how big of a challenge the holiday season will be for you. Over the years, I’ve met many people who are stressed about blowing their diet over the holidays when it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Try to keep it in perspective. It’s not what you do between Christmas and New Year’s Day, but what you do between New Year’s and Christmas that really counts. Do not expect perfection, but plan ahead to make good choices. If you are trying to lose weight, it is probably wise to choose to maintain your weight over the holidays rather than try and lose weight.
- USE YOUR CALENDAR Something that has worked for many of my clients is to take a calendar and “X” off the days you are likely to overeat or gobble down special holiday treats. For example, you may start by placing an “X” on Dec. 24, 25 and 26, as well as New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and days with any holiday parties you know you will be attending. For many people, even listing the number of holiday functions and parties you will be attending may result in a calendar full of X’s! Try to make healthier choices on other days in the month that do not have an “X” placed beside it. This type of planning allows you the freedom to enjoy the holidays but not overdo it.
- DRINK SMART Drink plenty of water and tea throughout the holidays. When you are dehydrated it may trigger you to overeat since often your body gets signals of thirst mixed up with hunger. Alcoholic beverages can also add up to be many “empty calories” [high in calories with low nutritional value]. A small glass of rum and eggnog can have about 320 calories! Between drinks containing alcohol, try a low-calorie beverage such as mineral water or club soda with a bit of cranberry juice.
- EAT SMART AT HOLIDAY PARTIES Before going out to a party, have a nutritious nibble or small snack so you don’t arrive ravenous. Try some toast and peanut butter, or yogurt and banana. Give yourself permission to enjoy the holiday treats — but practise portion control. When you are at the party, distance yourself from the food table and remember to mingle more than you munch. Using small plates and bowls helps to “fill up our eyes” since studies show the bigger the plate/bowl the more we will eat.
- SQUEEZE IN SOME EXERCISE As tough as it is, don’t neglect your exercise program over the holidays. Get out and do plenty of walking if you simply can’t adhere to your normal routine. Try exercising first thing in the morning, since often as the day progresses it becomes harder to squeeze it in. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. When shopping, park far from the store entrances and walk an extra two laps around the mall when finished.