It’s my favorite season and though most are happy about the gift giving and get togethers, some people dread it because it means splurging and bingeing, and to some doing all these would be synonymous to gaining weight. But according to a research study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, the average holiday weight gain is not 5 lbs. (as most people believe) but is closer to just 1.2 lbs. What’s unfortunate, though, is that the weight gained is not lost during the following year. The weight just keep on adding over the years, so holiday weight gain can pack an extra 15 lbs. in less than 10 years.
Here’s a few tips to avoid the belly bulge (and getting pregnant is a different thing):
Put the holidays in proper perspective. This time is about giving, sharing, gathering and enjoying the company of family and friends and not just eating. If you think of it as a time to eat, your actions will follow your thought patterns. It’s the holiday season, but the actual holidays are actually just a few days. Don’t use the holidays as an excuse not to be fit. Christmas is not an excuse not to have healthy meals, enough sleep and certainly not an excuse to abandon your fitness regimen.Having cake and sweets (at home and at work) should not be an everyday thing.
Before going to the party, have a small well-balanced snack in advance, such as reduced-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers and an apple. When in get togethers, do not linger in the kitchen or near the buffet table. Walk around, greet people and mingle, not with food but with the gifts you’re bringing.
Just because the food is served doesn’t mean that you have to eat all of them. Eat only what you really want to eat. Pass up the rest.
You don’t need to completely say no to holiday meals, just make better choices without denying yourself. Munch on raw vegetables with low-calorie dip, grilled veggies and other low-calorie hors d’oeuvres. Fill your plate with lean meats, lots of veggies, and whole grains (if available) or a small amount of starch. Enjoy a glass of wine with your meal and do not binge on beer. If you must drink, drink wine and always hold your glass. This will keep your dominant hand from getting food from time to time.
Keep your dessert small or share it. Trade in candied yams for baked ones, and skip the sauces.
Avoid skipping meals. Eat normally on the day of a party. Don’t skip meals to make room for more in an attempt to get the best out of a buffet or eat all you can. People who skip meals to save up calories tend to overeat everything in sight once they”re near the buffet table. Eat sensibly throughout the day and you will find that this will take the edge off the appetite and empower a bit of restraint. Start with a nourishing breakfast, have a light lunch, then a small snack or salad shortly before the event.
Move more during this season to avoid gaining weight. If you can’t avoid taking less or the same load you use to eat, just ensure to burn more calories than you usually do. Add an extra 15 to 20 minutes onto your workout routine to burn more calories. Take the farthest parking slot when you’re parking (or don’t use the car at all if your destination is nearby.)
If you over indulged overlooked your consumption (it’s with the company of friends and loved ones, so that tendency is not avoidable), don’t overreact to overindulging. The “I blew it, so I might as well keep eating …” mentality is self-defeating. One splurge won’t undo a week of healthy eating — unless you keep on doing it.
Lastly, if you happen to overindulge, don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on track as soon as possible, and focus on being healthier.