Holiday weight gain is not inevitable and in fact many healthy weight individuals may only gain 1 lb through December. Most people know that butter tarts and eggnog are full of calories but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid them over the holidays to prevent weight gain. Often creating a list of forbidden foods and things to avoid leads to a feeling of deprivation and culminates in cravings and indulgences. This year let’s look at it from a different perspective. Don’t take away, try to add. Here are some things I do to manage holiday eating and come out even in January.
Be Realistic: Setting a weight loss goal for the month of January may not be realistic but maintaining your weight can be.
Eat Lunch: Skipping meals during the day to make room for a pig dinner doesn’t usually result in fewer calories for the day. Instead, it often leads to overeating on the hors d’oeuvres before you even get to dinner. Eat a lunch full of vegetables and some lean protein. Consider having an apple or orange before you go to the party to curb your appetite and help manage cravings.
Do a Workout: The holidays can get busy and sometimes interfere in our regular workout schedule. Try to plan your workout into your day so that even if guests are visiting you still get a good calorie burn and a mental health boost. I like to do a quick jog, hike up a hill or spin on my stationary bike everyday. My workout also makes me more inclined to eat mindfully and not grab unnecessary treats.
Be Selective: I am not going to waste my treat on something I don’t absolutely love. I don’t love mince meat tarts, so I won’t waste the calories, but offer me a butter tart and I’m all over it. Luckily, they are so sweet, one is always enough. Indulge, just don’t overindulge, and make sure it’s delicious.
Enjoy Vegetables: I love to serve a festive salad in addition to 2-3 vegetable dishes at Christmas dinner. Eating more vegetables helps you feel full with fewer calories.
Drink Champagne! Choose a cocktail you like to savour and refill your own glass, so you know how much you drank. Champagne is lower in calories than beer or rum and Coke. If you love eggnog, consider adding skim milk to thin it out and only have one.
Use a Plate. If appetizers are served on a buffet table, use a plate so you can keep track of how much you are eating. Nuts, chips, cheese and dips all pack a calorie punch so balance it out with some fruit and vegetables.
Save and Share Leftovers: Package up leftovers into single servings and freeze for easy lunches and dinners. If you have lots send some home with family. Leftovers only last 3-4 days in the fridge so be sure to pack things up before then. Extra cookies and tarts can be frozen until your New Years Eve Party or given to guests as they leave.
Be Kind to Yourself. Nobody is perfect. If you happen to indulge more than you intended, don’t beat yourself up. Each day is a new day to start fresh.
Enjoy the holiday season and stay healthy!