Pumpkin cheesecake, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, turkey, ham, eggnog, the list goes on and on. Holiday foods are so rich and delicious, yet if you’re not careful, you could end up gaining more than just a full, happy belly.
Though the average holiday weight gain isn’t as scary as the media makes it out to be (people tend to gain two pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas), studies do show that people never actually lose this extra weight. Avoid gaining it all together with some simple tips you can carry with you throughout the entire year.
Tackle the sweet tooth
With all the sugary, scrumptious desserts at home, the office, holiday parties and even grocery stores, your sweet tooth is in overdrive. Try eating oats with honey or raw sugar and cinnamon in the morning to help tame cravings later on. Amp up your fat and protein intake as well. Healthy fats, such as almonds or avocados, are much more satisfying long term and don’t give you the up and down “sugar rush” that keeps you going back for more.
Limit alcohol intake
Not only is alcohol itself high in calories, especially when combined with eggnog, Kahlua or ice cream, but it also diminishes your sense of control when it comes to eating. The more you drink, the more inclined you’ll be to reach for the fattening dinner foods and grab a second slice of pumpkin pie.
Increase your workouts
Assuming you’re in a regular workout routine, kick it up by adding 15 extra minutes of cardio three times per week. If you don’t regularly exercise, start taking nightly walks with your spouse, kids or a friend. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but by adding in some exercise you’ll be able to balance out the extra calories consumed over the holidays.
Watch your surroundings
In other words, don’t choose to socialize right by the buffet table, since that leads to unconscious snacking. Grab a small, healthy plate of food and take a seat. Pop a piece of gum in your mouth after your first plateful to help prevent you from grabbing seconds. Another trick? Wear tight fitting clothing. This puts you in control and makes you constantly aware of the fact that you don’t want to gain any more weight.
Don’t skip meals
A lot of people will choose to skip breakfast so they can justify eating more later on. This is bad for two reasons: Breakfast gets your metabolism going, so by skipping it you’re going to store more fat later on when you do indulge; and you’ll arrive feeling hungrier, which leads to overindulging. Make sure you continue eating three healthy meals each day so you’re not as tempted at holiday parties and family get-togethers.
Don’t give up
And finally, if you do splurge one night with cakes, pies, cheesy potatoes and festive drinks, start fresh the next day. People make the mistake of letting one bad night turn into a bad week or even a bad month. Keep a positive attitude and know that every day is a new opportunity to eat well and exercise. Enjoy yourself and have fun. After all, the holidays do only come once a year, but make this the year that losing weight isn’t your number one New Year’s resolution.