12 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
By now you have made it through Thanksgiving and Chanukah, but the road to 2011 is still treacherous with Christmas, New Year’s Day, the ‘Eves’ and office and neighborhood parties still on the horizon.
I just heard on the radio that the average Thanksgiving dinner contains 3000 to 4000 calories! Is it any wonder that we tend to gain weight during this busy and stress-filled season?
Here are some easy ways to stay the course during the holidays—now is not the time to try to lose weight—let’s shoot to maintain!
#1– Weigh Once a Week. You’ve got to know where you are to plan where you’re going. You need a starting point and you need to know whether or not you’re making progress towards your goal. How often have you seen a 5 or 10 pound weight gain slide into the 20 or 50 pound range? Nip it in the bud by attacking the problem before it becomes a bigger problem. And remember, no gain is a victory—that is the goal!
#2 Portion Control. More important than “who moved my cheese?” is “how big was my cheese?” If the recommended portion for a serving of meat is a deck of cards, how often have you played with 3 or more decks? Use a smaller plate as your dinner plate. Simple and easy and it works—resist the urge to build vertically and remember that 10 small plates is probably bigger than one regular plate!
#3 Keep it Simple. Eat food in its simplest form to avoid piling on the calories. Stay away from sauces, gravy, toppings, breading, etc. Broiled (without butter or oils), baked, boiled or steamed is the way to go. Oh yeah, the skin has got to go! If you do indulge, think portion control (see tip #2).
#4 Move. Now is not the time to abandon your exercise program! Burn more calories to offset any splurges. Shoot for at least 20 minutes 6 days a week and build from there. Think walking, jogging, knee lifts during American Idol, Step, Zumba or cycling (in door or out). There are 168 hours in a week—you can do cardio for at least 2. When in doubt, get up and move! And yes, six hours of shopping and schlepping heavy packages does count as exercise.
#5 Go Green. Load your plate with low-calorie high fiber vegetables. You’ll feel full and not have consumed a lot of excess calories. If you go the salad route, watch out for high calorie dressings and toppings (see tip #3, keep it simple).
#6 Be Prepared. Have healthy snacks at work, at home, in your purse so that when you’re hungry you can eat and not reach for junk food. Nuts, sliced veggies, low-fat cheese and fruit are all good to take the edge off your hunger and keep you moving in the right direction. When snacking, keep tip #2, portion control, in mind.
#7 Selective Indulgence. What do you love to eat—red velvet cake, mashed potatoes and gravy, potato chips, ice cream? Whatever it is, allow yourself to eat a small portion so that you can be satisfied. Better to do this than to deprive yourself and then binge on a quart of Haagen-Dazs!
#8 Damage Control. If you know that you are going to be in a situation where you’ll probably over indulge, eat lighter and exercise more in the days before. ‘Bank’ some negative calories by eating mindfully and exercising more so you balance out any excesses and still are able to maintain your weight.
#9 Sling Some Iron. Boost your metabolism, firm your body with some good old fashioned weight training. Strength training is the Fountain of Youth and the proven way to re-shape your body. One of my favorite sayings is “Who cares what it weighs, as long as it’s not moving!”
#10 Go Bubbly. The next time you’re out for drinks, ask the bartender to cut your drink with seltzer or club soda. You’ll save calories and the bubbles add a festive touch.
#11 Drink Water. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. When you feel an overwhelming urge to snack, drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. Your ‘hunger’ pangs will likely go away. Make water your drink of choice, and you’ll avoid all those empty calories in juice, alcoholic beverages, eggnog, etc.—these can really add up. Besides, you’ll be so busy going to the bathroom you won’t have time to eat and you’ll be burning extra calories (see tip #4—move).
#12 Enjoy and Move On. Overindulge? Of course you did—it’s the holidays and you’re only human! Just make indulgence the exception and not the rule. Stay the course and get back to doing what you know you should.
That’s it—12 tips you can keep in mind to help you make your way through the temptations of the holidays.
Happy holidays and to a wonderful 2011! We all have much to be thankful for.
Additional posts by Charmaine Gordon
- Breast Cancer: The Importance of Early Detection and What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk, 23 Oct 2012 in Health & Wellness
- The Ultimate Anti-Aging Regimen, 12 Apr 2012 in Health & Wellness
- Curb Your Appetite: Strategies that Quiet the Beast Within, 31 Jan 2012 in Health & Wellness
- Breast Cancer: Early Detection Is the Key, 28 Sep 2011 in Health & Wellness
- FAT: Six Reasons to Get It Off and Keep It Off, 08 Aug 2011 in Health & Wellness
- Stop Midlife Weight Gain—Metabolism 101, 08 Oct 2010 in Health & Wellness
- 15 Easy Ways To Blast Fat & Jumpstart Your Metabolism, 12 Aug 2010 in Health & Wellness
- The Ultimate Anti-Aging Regimen, 08 Apr 2010 in Health & Wellness