The Holidays mark a time where there are many parties, A LOT of food, a lot of drinking, and then a lot of weight gain. SO for the sake of your health, waistline, and pants here is a guide to help by-pass unhealthy habits, and weight gain.
Something to keep in mind: 3500 calories = 1 pound of fat, and the average American gains 5-10 lbs over the Holidays.
A tip for Healthy Habits year-round: There are no bad foods, only bad portions!!!
Here's what to remember:
1) Little extras add up:
- Any time you add butter, a sauce, gravy, salad dressing etc you're adding more calories. Instead of cream based dips try using hummus and yogurt to dip vegetables and fruit in at parties
- Fill up at Holiday parties or while studying on calorie free beverages (water, or water and crystal light); avoid sugary sodas, and juices as well.
3) Plan Ahead:
- If you're attending a Holiday party plan accordingly, if you are expected to bring a dish to pass, then prepare a low calorie dish such as a vegetable tray with your favorite vegetables, and make a ranch dip with low fat, plain Greek Yogurt and a ranch seasoning packet
- If you're at a party or reception use the smaller dessert plates for your foods, so you're less tempted to fill that larger space with food
- Be aware of your grazing. "Grazing" or "snacking" adds up, know that every food you consume has some type of caloric value and it adds up
4) Chew slowly and Enjoy your food
- At large Holiday meals this can sometimes be difficult, you fill your plate, so does everyone else at the table, and then everyone proceeds to dive in. Break the cycle. Take one small spoonful of the dishes you want, chew and eat slowly . Give yourself 5-10 minutes before getting seconds
5) Find time to exercise
- To help maintain (and not gain) weight over the Holidays, doing some light exercise can go a long way. Doing something simple like crunches, push-ups, and planks, can be simple exercises to do, in a small space. If feasible a light jog, or walk. Even 8 sets of 20 crunches can be done within 10 minutes and doing 4-5 30 second plank holds could help a great deal
6) The Perils of Alcohol
- Alcohol adds so many calories, that even two glasses of wine could add up to over 1000 calories. Stick to tip number 2, and let water be your drink of choice, or water and crystal light. If having a mixed drink use a club soda, and fruit to add flavor. Unfortunately, I must take this time to put a damper on a very popular "health fact", many people believe red wine is good for your heart as it contains flavonoids, while flavonoids are good for the body, getting them from wine is not ideal, the alcohol that comes along with the wine does more harm than the flavonoids do good. Remember, moderation is key.
7) Listen to your body!!!
- Lastly, and most importantly your body knows itself, and is the best indicator of what you need. When your body says it's hungry, feed it, eat slowly enjoy the flavors of the food, and then your body will let you know when it's full, it's easier for the full feeling to register when eating at a slower pace. Don't force yourself to eat whatever the reason.
Happy Holidays everyone!!! Enjoy the Holidays, indulge a little, have your treats, and treat yourself. However the Holidays do not have to be a roadblock to healthy living, nor do the Holidays have to result in weight loss.