Top Ten Tips for Maintaing Your Weight During the Holidays
The Holidays are upon us and so are the sugar and refined flour laden goodies. It’s important not to deny yourself, but instead, be realistic about what you put in your mouth. Foods with sugar, flour and dairy in them are often too congesting for the mind and body. Eat too many of them and you find yourself congested or stuffy, battling a head cold, sluggish, not being able to think clearly and just plain sick. These foods are taxing to the immune system and can overload the liver, bowel and lymphatic system when ingested in excess.
If that’s not bad enough, these foods can cause the pounds to creep up on you which is never fun when you’re trying to get yourself into your favorite pair of skinny jeans.
1. Indulge on occasion. If you don’t, you just might find yourself binging on a half gallon of egg nog ice cream later which is much more taxing on the body than if you just had a bite or two of that decadent pumpkin cheesecake here and there. Balance your indulgences by making sure the rest of your meals are healthy and full of vegetables. And whatever you do, NEVER skip breakfast.
2. Dive into the healthy foods first. Let’s face it, when you’re at a party there are so many divine treats. Often we come hungry and fill up on heavy, calorie rich foods rather than kicking the party off with some crudités or lighter salads. Go for the lighter, nutrient rich foods first (provided they are available) so you want eat as much of the junky stuff.
3. Leaving grazing for the cows. Sometimes we think if we don’t grab a plate we’ll eat less. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A plate helps you gauge how much you have eaten. If you can handle it, skip the dinner plate and grab a smaller dessert plate. Start with one small plate and see how you feel. Eat slowly. Savor each decadent bite. You can always grab another if you’re still hungry, but chances are you’ll be just fine and you’ve just tricked yourself into thinking you ate a full plate of food. Ha!
4. Make a green drink before you head out the door. Green drinks are chock full of nutrients which eliminates cravings. Make a green smoothie or juice. Drinking a cup of homemade stock is another good choice. Not only are you getting some good nutrients into your system, you’re hydrating yourself as well. Try this tip before heading out to a party or shopping. You don’t want to stroll by Cinnabon on an empty stomach. It always seems like a good idea at the time… but this is a great segway into #5.
5. Slide into those skinny jeans at least once a week. I’m not a fan of the scale because it’s a number that may or may not be reflective of what’s healthy and causes us to become neurotic about our fluctuating weight. Putting on your slimmest pants a few times during the Holiday season will help you decide whether or not you’re packing on a few extra pounds. Yoga pants and leggings are comfy, but that waist band will grow right along with you!
6. Come with your own healthy dish. Bring something healthy that you love and enjoy it. If you fill up on that, you won’t reach for other temptations. Chances are other party-goers will appreciate it as well.
7. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough rest tend to have increased appetites and eat more. Yikes. So make sure you get your butt to bed at a reasonable time and take a little cat nap before you go out if need be.
8. Watch your beverages. This is my downfall right here. Wine, oh how I love thee! I find that if I pour a half a glass, I drink less, but other folks find that if they just pour one large glass and nurse it all night they do much better. You can even try counting 1-2-3 when pouring to get about a 5 oz. serving. Bring mineral water and lime to a party…you can pour yourself a spritzer in-between glasses of wine to hydrate and slow you down. The bubbles help with setting a slower pace. I know some people that even add sparkling water to wine and enjoy it very much. Hell, some nights you may just want to skip the wine and have the non-alcoholic spritzer
9. Find a food-free space in which to mingle. If you’re standing next to the food table all night, chances are pretty high that you’re going to be tempted to try most of it if not all of it. Search out a food-free space so you’re not tempted to graze continually. If you’re hosting a party, be sure to set-up an entertaining space where there is no food. Your guests’ waistlines will appreciate it!
10. Make time to play and get your butt moving! Let’s be realistic. You’re going to eat homemade Christmas cookies and indulge in your Aunt Maud’s fabulous spinach and artichoke dip. Give those sedentary indulgences a little balance with some movement. Physical activity will help the body burn up a few extra calories this Holiday season AND it will give you the energy you need to attend to your Holiday “to do” list. Get a few extra walks in every week, take the stairs, sneak a few squats in during your walk and add a set of crunches or push-ups in-between batches of cookies.
Whatever you do, be playful about the Holidays. Enjoy them. It’s a special time to visit with family and friends so don’t restrict yourself from enjoying your favorite holiday foods with them. Feelings of deprivation are never fun and only breed a negative relationship with food.
The more mindful and playful you are with your food during the Holidays, the better off your mind and body will be. A healthy mind and body is the BEST gift you can give to yourself and others this Holiday season.
Here are a few other healthy holiday tips from past posts. Now I would like to hear from you. How do you keep the weight from creeping up during the Holidays? Share you tips below.