According to a recent Weight Watchers report, the average American gains around 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. If we allow ourselves to lose control completely over the holiday season, there is a high risk that we will continue to have unhealthy eating habits long after the holiday season is gone. Falling into the trap of unhealthy eating is a hard habit to break. Despite millions of New Year’s resolutions that are made each year regarding our diets, many people never get around to breaking the habit at all. In fact, researchers at Washington University have reported that only around 22% of New Year’s diet resolutions make to February. And I can personally vouch for the exercise resolution makers. I would estimate less than 15% make it to February by the fall-out I’ve witnessed in the gym as a Certified Fitness Trainer.
So what can you do to prevent this weight gain over the holidays? Well that is what this article is all about. And here are several tips on eating healthy during the holiday season. Being health-conscious doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t enjoy the holiday season and have a little bit of what you fancy. It simply means that you should continue to be vigilant and be prepared for the festivities. 😉
There are many ways in which you can help to strike a balance between maintaining a healthy diet and joining in with the fun and festivities.
- Exercise: My favorite combat against holiday eating! Most people have little extra time available over the holiday season because they are so busy working, or enjoying a party, or shopping, or spending time with family. But if you take this opportunity to develop a regular exercise regime it will pay off in so many ways. It will not only help you burn off the excess calories and fat consumed over this period but it will give you extra energy you need to enjoy the holiday season!! This is the perfect time to get in the habit of exercising too and you can continue after the holiday season is over. You’ll be ahead of the amateurs who hit the gym in January.
- Be wary of sugary foods: Always remember that rich, sugary foods have a nasty habit of making us crave more rich and sugary foods. We’ve all been there….over-indulging in sweet or rich food…feeling bloated, sick, and making rash promises to never eat again…and a couple of hours later we find ourselves back in the kitchen, picking at leftovers. By ensuring that you practice healthy eating over the holidays, and throw in some regular exercise, you can expect to have more energy and fewer cravings.
- Eat regularly: Don’t go to a party hungry. We often eat faster and even more when we are hungry; therefore, eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at the party. You might even want to include a healthy snack just before the party to curb your appetite. Here’s a great tip, drink a big glass of water before you eat, it will make you feel full and you will be less likely to over indulge.
- Balance your meals: Don’t be tempted to fill up your plate with purely rich, calorie laden foods. Instead, have a little of everything including fruit and vegetables. This way you’ll still get to indulge as well as receive valuable nutrients and vitamins.
- Take your vitamins daily: This way you’ll ensure you are getting all of your nutrients. During the holiday/winter season you are susceptible to getting sick. What better way to ward off colds and the flu by taking your vitamins.
- Moderate alcohol intake: Don’t forget that alcohol intake is fattening too. Alcohol contains calories and lots of them. Just about every form of alcohol has at least 100 calories per glass and the lower calorie beers have lower alcohol content. Even though alcohol makes you feel more relaxed at the moment remember it is a depressant and the next day will be harder to handle if you over indulge and won’t be worth that little so called relaxing moment if you really think about it.
- Be aware of food allergies: It is quite possible that you may have an allergy or intolerance to a food, which you may not even be aware of. Because there is a mountain of food waiting around every corner during the holiday season, we sometimes find ourselves gorging on food and we do not even know about the ingredients. Then we wonder why we’re feeling so ill the next morning! By having a food allergy test, you can identify any foods that you need to avoid during the holiday season in order to maintain your health and enjoy the festivities without suffering.
- Watch your portion. Treat yourself to a nice drink, dessert, chocolate or sweets without guilt, but always watch your portion. Go for small portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.
- Drink plenty of water. There are so many things that we consume during the holidays that can dehydrate our bodies, alcohol and caffeine are just two culprits. Be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water every day to keep your body adequately hydrated.
- Stock up on healthy snacks: When you go shopping, be sure to throw some healthy snacking items in to your basket. Fill up on raw veggies, such as carrots or celery, which can make a simple snack in times of temptation.
- Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items. High fat food items can be found in fried food, cream-based soup, cheese filled casseroles, pies, processed meats such as salami and sausages, some pastries and baked goods.
Have a healthy and happy holiday season!!! Kathie 🙂