Thanksgiving is upon us, which means the holiday gauntlet of family dinners, gatherings with friends, office parties, shopping, decorating and travel is about to begin. The holiday gatherings tempt us with a dizzying array of treats and all the holiday preparations leave us tired and short on time for exercise and sleep. All this adds up for the perfect storm to pack on pounds leaving you feeling bloated, tired and cranky by New Year Eve. Then the crazy talk starts with New Year’s resolutions like – “I’m never eating chocolate again!” Not fun. I don’t know about you, but a world without chocolate is not a world I want to live in.
Let’s make this holiday season different. Instead of trying to lose weight over the holidays, how about setting a goal of maintaining your weight? Instead of eating and drinking with abandon and regretting it later, follow these simple strategies that let you enjoy the holidays and all its yummy treats and still maintain your weight.
Here are my top nine tips to help you maintain your weight during the holiday season
- Make the focus of the party the people, not the food. Catch up with friends and family, introduce yourself to some new people, enjoy the holiday decorations and music. Focus on having a good time instead of mindlessly grazing.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Getting tipsy will make it that much harder to make healthy food choices. Also, if you have more than one drink (and chances are you will), be sure to space your adult beverages with a “tweener,” something non-alcoholic between drinks. Have a glass of sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime and a splash of cranberry juice. Your liver and belly will both thank you
- Don’t go to the party hungry. This is a recipe for disaster and will most certainly result in overeating. Eat your regular meals leading up to the party and make sure you have a snack before you go that includes some protein and healthy fat such as an apple with almond butter or a handful of nuts.
- Offer to bring a delicious, healthy dish like as a colorful crudité platter with hummus or guacamole dip, a beautiful tossed salad or shrimp cocktail. That way you know there will be something you can enjoy and feel good about eating.
- Building your plate with 2/3 healthy choices and 1/3 treats. If you’re at a buffet, survey the selections first and then start filling your plate. Start with either a salad or crudité plate. Then add on lean protein like chicken or shrimp, some cooked vegetables and a small portion of whole grains like wild rice or quinoa. Now that you’ve got your healthy base, then you can add a couple of small portions of the tempting holiday treats like cheesy casseroles and pasta. By filling up on vegetables and protein first, you’ll have less room to over-indulge of the heavier foods.
- When you choose to indulge in a sweet treat, make it count! Choose the most decadent dessert you can find, sit down and savor every bite! The first few bites are always the best, so take your time to really taste and enjoy it and chances are you’ll eat less of it.
- Don’t try to do it all. You don’t have to say yes to every event you’re invited to. Your time is precious so be discriminating. Over-scheduling leaves you feeling resentful, tired and stressed-out making you more likely to reach for fatty comfort foods, sugar, alcohol and too much caffeine.
- Self-care is a necessity, not an indulgence. Make sure you get enough sleep and a little bit of exercise daily. No need to go to the gym. Instead, take a brisk 15 minute walk at lunch, roll out the yoga mat and do a few stretches or search YouTube for a quick 20 minute workout you can do in your living room. Even just a few minutes of movement is better than none at all.
- Despite all your best efforts, if you do go overboard, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t try to make up for last night’s over-indulgence by starving yourself today. Instead, get back on your healthy eating plan, drink lots of water and go for a walk.
By implementing these strategies, you can enjoy the holidays and start the new year feeling happy, healthy and energized.
Are you with me? Let’s do this!