I just returned from a long Thanksgiving Holiday, replete with an overabundance of long flights, friends and family, and of course FOOD. Even for me, it was tough to keep up a healthy nutrition regimen. Speaking of nutrition, the’ holiday calorie carousel’ is starting to spin. Work parties, family dinners, holiday happy hours, and sweet treats can pose a serious threat to our waistlines. In fact, most Americans gain 1-2 lbs over the Holiday season. That may not sound like a lot, until you factor in 1-2 lbs EVERY holiday season- for LIFE! And remember, 1-2 lbs is an average- there are many that put on far more than just a few pounds. Regardless of where you fall in the range, no one wants to add on any extra around the middle.
Over the last several days I’ve talked to several clients about this very thing- trying to avoid weight gain during the Holidays. So, to avoid repeating myself every time, I’ve listed out a few ideas on how to avoid packing on the pounds when you’re out at parties, get togethers, and holiday work events. Here’s 5 tips that can help tip the scales in your favor when it comes to avoiding the Holiday bulge:
1) Eat before you go out. Never show up to a holiday soiree on an empty stomach! Having a healthy snack, high in protein, will help curb the desire to munch on whatever gets presented to you at the party. Eating at home will allow you to control exactly what you take in, allowing you to know how much wiggle room you’ve got when it comes to party sacks.
2) Drink only water. Juices, soda, and alcohol all pack a high-calorie punch. Alcohol has a whopping 7 calories per gram (.03 oz.) per serving, and juices and soda contain up to 48 grams of sugar. Even diet soda contains artificial chemicals that can indirectly add on the pounds. The kidneys and liver have a hard time metabolizing these artificial chemicals, which tricks the body into storing the unrecognizable substance as fat. Drinking water is by far your best bet, but if you absolutely need a drink, one a? night is a good target.
3) Be careful with the hors d'oeuvres. Those tasty treats are often high in calories (think fried calamari, bacon wrapped dates, or cocktail meatballs swimming in BBQ sauce.) Take a look before you dive right in. Plan out which ones are worth the calories and then stick to just one or two. If you're going to indulge, make sure you have a few items from the veggie tray as well- veggies contain fiber, which both aids in digestion and helps slow sugar absorption.
4) Partner up. Both Hillary Clinton and Benito Mussolini used the slogan, “Stronger Together”. Well, that saying is relevant during political campaigns, fascist dictatorships, AND holiday parties. Before holiday hitting the party circuit, make a pact with your plus one to stick to the game plan. Having someone to be accountable to goes a long way in helping you stay motivated and on track. Your significant other will also appreciate you helping them avoid the bulge as well.
5) Don’t be obsessive. After all, it is the Holidays. The occasional sugar cookie, cup of eggnog, or glass of champagne should not derail your efforts to stay healthy during the holiday season. Give yourself a break, and remember this is a time for celebration. So celebrate. Don’t get so preoccupied with your nutrition game plan that you forget the reason for the season. If you fall off the bandwagon (or hayride;) all isn’t lost. Just get back on- reset and refocus and you’ll be fine.
There you have it. Not rocket science by any stretch, but good reminders to help you keep that waistline in check during the next several weeks of Holiday festivities. Eat before leaving, water only, watch the hors d'oeuvres, partner up, and don’t obsess. Enjoy this wonderful time of year! Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, stay well this Holiday Season!