The Holiday Season is here and in full swing while many of us are finding that our schedules are now filled with parties, dinners, shopping plans, and trips to visit friends and loved ones. Statistics show that the typical holiday weight gain during the 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year is 7 – 15 lbs, while most people spend the rest of the next year trying to work it off. But with all of the excitement and festivities, keeping on track with fitness goals can be very tough. The good news is that it’s not impossible, it just requires a bit of strategy and planning ahead. At a loss for what to do? No worries, here are some easy to do tips which you can follow to minimize your holiday weight gain and the holiday stress.
Party Time and Time to Dine – this is where so many of us experience the majority of our drop off during the holiday season because of the countless temptations that are there; the food the desserts and the cocktails are all so enticing how could you possibly resist? If you know what to look for, you’ll know how to prepare.
1. Don’t go to the party or dinner hungry. The hungrier you are, the more likely you will over eat and binge on the treats. Have a light snack before you get to the restaurant or party such as a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit. If you’re a person who’s always on the go, opt to carry foods that travel well such as apples. Clementines are now in season; their diminutive size and ease of peeling make these a great portable item for snacking and with less than 100 calories and 0 fat grams, these fruits will aid in your feeling of “fullness” without compromising your waistline and will also keep you from overdoing it with the hors dourves and appetizers. This brings us to the next point…
2. Be mindful of the hors d’oeuvres. Although seemingly harmless due to their size, many of these treats can add up quickly in calories as they can start at 100 calories each. Try choosing no more than 3 hors d’oeuvres and eat them slowly.
3. Socialize and mingle with other guests. What’s talking and mingling got to do with anything? The more engaged you are in conversation, the less likely you are to fill your mouth with food. So those 3 hors d’oeuvres items that were just suggested will now take longer to eat.
4. No hovering allowed! Do NOT camp out at the hors d’oeurves table. When standing next to the food table, the food is right in front of you and within immediate reach, because of that, most people have a tendency to eat out of convenience even though they are not hungry. Move away from the table!!!
5. BYOD: Bring your own dish! If the party is potluck, bring a healthy dish that you will enjoy, this way you know that there’s at least something for you to eat without ruining all of your hard work
6. Limit the amount of holiday cocktails. There are so many hidden calories in holiday cocktails especially the sweet, creamy and frothy beverages that are so fun to drink during this time of year. As an example, an 8oz. serving size of Egg Nog without the alcohol is over 400 calories, add in the rum and you’re close to 500. Apply the same principle here as with your food. Enjoy in moderation taking your time to drink what’s in your glass. Talk with those around you and space out your drinks by drinking water in between cocktails.
7. Portions! Portions! Portions! Don’t glob everything onto your plate at once; take smaller amounts of your delights.
8. Eat until you’re no longer hungry, not until you’re full. This is a BIG DEAL. Many times we eat because the food is there and no matter how many signals our bodies give us to say that we’ve had enough, we continue to eat. If you are no longer hungry, stop eating! Take it back to the point of socializing, enjoy the conversations around you.
9. Shake Your Groove Thing! When the music starts, get up and move. One of the best ways to burn calories after dinner is to dance so tell the DJ to pump up the volume and then hit the floor. This IS a party right?
Up next in our Holiday Fitness series... At the mall. Not only are there sales galore, but there are also numerous traps lurking about the mall that can ruin your holiday fitness plan. We'll show you how to make your shopping experience work for you. Stay tuned...