The holidays are not only notorious for long lines, major traffic, and familial tiffs, but also with super-rich foods, overindulgence, and lower activity levels. The latter adds up and becomes part of what we all dread: holiday weight gain.
It happens to all most everyone. Whether it be one pound, half a pound, or five pounds, the weight goes on and rarely comes off. Five Christmas' later, you have a significant weight gain on your hands (or hips!). So what to do?
Here's our list of 10 tips to make sure you stay in shape over the holiday season and avoid putting "lose weight" as one of your New Year's resolutions:
1. Stay active
One of the major causes of weight gain during the holidays is lack of activity. Time is spent doing holiday errands, which makes us more tired, less motivated, and not wanting to stick to our routine.
Best thing to do: stick to your regular schedule! Not only will it help keep weight gain down, it will give you more energy and it will reduce your stress which are both needed to battle the long lines and parking squabbles.
Better yet, if you can up your activity, even better! Try walking a few extra laps around the mall. Or an extra 20 minutes on that treadmill.
2. Don't starve yourself
One of the most common mistakes people make is to go hungry all day so that they can "afford" the calories later on at the holiday party they will be attending. Big no-no! You will be so hungry by the time you get to the party, that you will forget about any sense of the word moderation or control.
You are setting yourself up for a major binge. Make sure to eat your normal (healthy, hopefully) meals and keep your hunger at bay so that you can enjoy the food at the party without going overboard.
Another thing to do is have a snack before you go the party. A piece of fruit or something along those lines will keep you somewhat satiated.
3. Don't let your fat diary go!
If you stick to your normal routine of writing down what you eat, you will be able to monitor your caloric intake better. Go online to www.Philsfatdiaries.com and sign up for your free fat diary.
Research shows that people who keep a fat diary actually consume 15% less food than those who do not!
4. Choose healthier options
There are some healthy options that you can eat during the holidays. White meat turkey is a great lean protein. Vegetables that aren't laden with butter, salad not drenched in dressing, sweet potatoes, and cranberries are also options.
You can also make other typical dishes healthier by changing the ingredients slightly. Try making mashed potatoes with reduced-fat or low-fat milk, yogurt or sour cream. Dips and spreads, same thing. Really think about the ingredients that you normally use and then think about how you can make the dish healthier. But, on that same note... 5. Enjoy what you love: We all have those certain dishes or items that just bring us back to childhood and make the holidays special. Go ahead, indulge! Be choosy about what you indulge in though. Don't choose the pumpkin pie just because it is lower in fat than the pecan (which it is).
If you want the pecan, choose the pecan! You don't want to set yourself up for binges later. That one piece of pumpkin pie may not satisfy you, so you may have another when, really, you could have had just one piece of pecan and been completely satisfied.
5. Give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays
Just enjoy with a sense of moderation. If you want to splurge on dessert, maybe you are a little more careful with your entree choice.
Next: 5 more diet and fitness tips to avoid holiday weight gain