The holidays are here, a time for family, friends…and an abundance of food. So here's a strategy that will alllow you to enjoy yourself, without letting unwanted weight gain creep up on you.
Many of these foods signify that the holidays are upon us and we often want to celebrate by enjoying the special foods and sweet treats that surround us. For some, certain holiday foods or desserts bring us right back to the comfortable place where we originally feasted on them. For others, it’s simply a time to put our healthy eating on hold until the New Year.
If this sounds like you, there’s a good chance you’ll enter the New Year wearing a few extra pounds from all that good cheer. If larger clothes aren’t on your wish list however, is there a way you can enjoy the holiday season guilt and weight gain free? Yes!
The first strategy to employ is to pre plan your holiday eating. There is a way to include those special foods and treats as long as an effective plan is in place. Here’s a strategy for a sit down holiday meal.
The first trick involves being a “food snob!” How do you do that? Only eat what’s special for that holiday and shun foods you can have on any occasion. For example, let’s say for a Holiday Dinner there’s a delicious looking stuffing, sweet potato pie or a signature dish from a favourite relative along with ordinary breads and rolls. Since the roll isn’t significant to the holiday, skip it to allow for a taste of the special foods served only during that time of year. By having what’s unique for the holiday, you’ll feel a part of it without feeling like a stuffed turkey!
Here are a few ideas to consider before heading to a holiday cocktail party. First of all, never arrive hungry. Over hungry leads to overeating, so a small 100-200 calorie snack before you go helps keeps your judgment intact and will help you make better decisions once confronted with all of the holiday goodies. For example, a small piece of fruit, some nuts, low fat cheese or a container of yoghurt can spare you from overindulging in thousands of calories from hors d’oeuvres and entrées.
This next is one of my favourites for women specifically. It’s called the “clutch trick.” This is where you purposely bringing a clutch bag as opposed to one with a strap. By carrying your bag, you’ve lost a hand that could be grabbing unhealthy entrées! No problem if you don’t have a clutch bag. Simply tuck in the strap on any small bag and carry it in your hand.
Of course, if you do want some entrées, limit the amount, choose the most delicious looking ones and enjoy them thoroughly. Give yourself permission to enjoy the treat so each bite isn’t eaten with a side of guilt. Also, by giving yourself permission to eat a certain amount, you’re much less likely to binge later on because you feel good about keeping a promise you made to yourself.
The next strategy involves liquid calories coming from alcohol or special holiday drinks. Pre plan the amount of drinks you’ll have…before you go. These calories go down quickly, so you’ll want to choose wisely. Will you have a drink or two, alternate between a drink and a glass of water, have a wine spritzer to cut the calories from the wine in half? Will you have seltzer, which looks like a drink, and no one will question you about why you’re not drinking? Finally, how about envisioning each drink as a chocolate milkshake? Pictured this way, you may think twice about having more than one!
With a plan, you can enjoy the holidays without the “leftovers” you’d find on your thighs, hips and belly. By putting some strategies together now, you can avoid the pledge to lose excess weight as the New Year begins.