The secret to avoiding holiday weight gain
The holiday cheer and Christmas spirit make it easy to push healthy eating habits aside, but while you are haplessly making merry you are also shoveling in the calories and outgrowing that cute little black dress you plan on wearing New Year's eve. Packing on the pounds doesn't have to be norm for the Christmas season. In fact, Lisa Lillien, also known as Hungry Girl, recommends her secret weapon to avoid holiday weight gain. Keep reading to find out how she stays trim when Christmas comes around.
Why is Christmas cheer so damaging to your diet?
If you've never had a year when you didn't gain weight during the holiday season, you have likely fallen into the same diet-damaging trap where most women find themselves. The trap, you ask? "With all the holiday parties and accessible food at the office, women forget that they need to watch their dietary intake," says Lillien, founder of HungryGirl.com, a website dedicated to sharing healthy diet tips and tricks for hungry chicks. "Believe it or not, women tend to have the biggest problem with holiday food at the office."
The secret weapon to avoid holiday weight gain: Snacks
You're probably thinking that the secret to keeping the holiday bulge at bay is to stop eating, but Lillien, who just released a healthy recipe card collection Chew the Right Thing, says the secret to overindulging is to actually eat more. More snacks, that is. "I snack more during the holidays than any other time of year," she explains. "Snacks keep you from being overly hungry and overeating." She recommends having snacks on hand at all times. Hungry Girl's favorite hunger-staving snacks are Yoplait's Fiber One 50-calorie yogurts and 100-calorie packs of almonds for their portion control and fiber content. "Fiber fills you up and keeps you full," she adds.
Be mindful while you make merry
Lillien is no stranger to food issues and weight struggles. The Hungry Girl has tried every diet on the market, yo-yoed up and down with a frustrating 20 pounds, and finally got off the diet roller coaster and just started eating healthier and more mindfully. She has successfully lost 30 pounds and kept it off by staying in tune with her hunger, fullness and food choices. "You need to pay attention to your body cues; eat sensible when you are hungry and stop eating when you aren't," Lillien explains, recommending snacks in between meals and before holiday parties. "And if you are snacking and still overeating, you simply aren't listening to your body."
Move to the holiday groove
Whether or not you braved Black Friday and hit the big Christmas shopping sales, you can use your gift list as an excuse to get out of the house and get some exercise. Don't let your fingers do the shopping. "Go shopping -- offline!" Lillien emphatically suggests. "People have become lazy and need to move more…go to the mall, park away from the entrance, walk, try on clothes, just move."
Set yourself up for New Year success
Every January 1, millions of people make some type of New Year's resolutions to eat better, exercise more and lose weight. Unfortunately, most New Year's resolutions have become forgotten intentions by the end of the month and, oftentimes, it is because people have unreasonable expectations. "The biggest mistake people make at the New Year is setting unrealistic goals," Hungry Girl explains. "It's common for people to say 'I'm not eating sugar at all in 2010' then eat a handful of M&Ms and throw their New Year's resolutions out the window." A better and more achievable approach is setting a goal to cut back on sugar and fat and make healthier swap outs. "Make a resolution to fill up with water and substitute low sugar low fat foods for high sugar high fat fare," advises Lillien.
The Christmas season can be the most wonderful time of year for your waistline if you plan ahead and keep snacks handy. By becoming more mindful of your hunger cues and staving off starvation-induced binges, you can avoid packing on the office and holiday party pounds. When January 1 arrives, you'll be ahead of the game in making sensible New Year's diet resolutions that you can keep.