Happy Holidays! It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday season as the festive atmosphere invites us to “Eat, drink and be merry!” The temptation to indulge in the social events that include exquisite foods and drinks takes hold of our diets. Office parties occur in most workplaces and the temptation to eat — for some — too great to overcome.
The Holidays Season is the worse time to stick to a healthy diet and stay on track with your weight loss goals. Our struggles with excess weight go into hibernation not returning until the bulk of the joy and merriment is over. Successful dieting during the holidays’ means shielding oneself from all outside contact. This means no internet, no television, no radio — while everyone else is enjoying friends, family and food, you’re alone!
People struggling with weight gain become depressed and withdrawn during the holiday season. They avoid everyone, including family. Everyone (with some exceptions) eat more than they intend or should. In this blog, I want to share with you great news and tips to help you come out of hiding and enjoy yourself during the Eating Season!
Good News! You Don’t Have to Give in to Temptation
What you should do is to develop your eating plan and follow it. We’ve discovered weekends typically trip up those vulnerable to weight gain. Plan your meals, even during the holidays! If you go out to eat, plan in advance what you’re going to eat and use smaller plates! Less food means you reduce your caloric intake. Instead of using a large dinner plate, grab a smaller side plate instead. Keep in mind that once the food is digested, it’s up to the body to decide what happens next. The body can store the calories as fat or burn them. If you’re unsure of your weight loss goals, take our healthy eating courses.
Green leafy vegetables without all the heavy white cream sauce will send the body into automatic burn mode. Meaning that green vegetables are not stored as fat as is a meat protein. Protein is also perfect for keeping the body running and functioning properly but, bad protein is as bad on the body as bad carbs or bad fat. That said, you should avoid all junk food if you’re trying to manage your weight and avoid weight gain. An effective strategy is to review our healthy eating plan for weight loss.
Yes, I know that if you go to mom’s house for Christmas dinner, you must eat everything on your plate or risk disinheritance, but remember small portions! A little of the stuffing with little or no gravy, plenty of turkey or ham would be best. The green bean casserole looks perfect and guesses what, it’s green bean! You can’t go wrong there, right? One of the casserole’s main ingredient is modified with butter and cream and small portions mean no more than a tablespoon from each dish. “Oh, you’re not eating much. Are you feeling okay?” and “You should eat more!” the comments ring out. Despite the well-intentioned family members’ comments, stay true to your goal! Arm yourself against temptation by reviewing our superfood video for foods that provide energy and fuel weight loss.
A BIG Problem During the Holiday Season
If it’s alcohol you’re drinking, you’re ruining any chance of maintaining or losing weight. Alcohol is a diet killer! Some will say that a recent study said okay to consume alcohol while trying to lose weight. What the author of that study did not tell you is the Alcohol Beverage Association paid for the study! We say alcohol is a useless calorie.
Worse, it slows the liver’s role making it nearly impossible for the liver to process food and burn calories. Another strategy, if you must drink alcohol eat a full healthy meal before you start drinking. That will slow absorption and keep you feeling full so you drink less.
Where do the harmful calories come from that cause excess weight? Processed food is a major culprit. Avoid processed food during holiday celebrations. Skip the cakes, pies, and sugary snacks. Leave the candy in the little Christmas stocking given to you by well-meaning colleagues. By eating 200 extra calories a day — a piece of pecan pie and a tumbler of eggnog, a couple of lattes and some butter cookies, you could pack on two to three pounds over a one weekend period. Do that for three to four weekends and you will have gained 8 to 10 pounds without even knowing it until you hit the scales! The best tip for effective weight management during the holidays is to move before or after a meal.
Another holiday blunder if you try to support healthy weight or lose pounds is to have a “cheat day.” A “cheat day” is the day you decide to indulge, but that’s means you decided to end your diet and start over. Even on “cheat days,” stay true to your goals and follow your eating plan. You don’t need to deprive yourself or eat bland, boring foods, or eat your treats with a side order of guilt. Instead, by practicing a few good eating habits, you can come through the holidays without making “go on a diet” your New Year’s resolution.
Here are extra tips to help you get through the eating season without gaining extra pounds:
- Don’t eat everything in sight. Be choosy and spend calories judiciously on the foods you love. Use a small plate.
- Be sure to eat slowly. It takes a few minutes for your food to reach your stomach. Pause letting your body send the signal to your brain. After finishing your first helping, make conversation, drink some water. Then recheck your appetite. You might realize you are full or may want an even smaller serving of seconds.
- Don’t be a food hog. At a party, don’t stand next to the food table. That makes it harder to mindlessly reach for food as you talk. If you know you are prone to recreational eating, pop a mint or chew a stick of gum so you won’t keep reaching for the chips.
- Eat before you go out. Before setting out for a party, eat something so you don’t arrive famished. Try eating snacks that combine complex carbohydrates with protein and unsaturated fat, like apple slices with peanut butter or a slice of turkey and cheese on whole-grain bread. A tuna sandwich on whole-grain bread is perfect before you hit the streets.
- Drink water. A glass of eggnog can set you back 500 calories; wine, beer, and mixed drinks range from 150 to 225 calories. If you drink alcohol, remember to have a glass of water between drinks.
- Go for a walk. The holidays can be stressful without all the food and drinks. Walking calms the nerves and reduces stress. If you are at a family gathering, suggest a walk before the feast or even between dinner and dessert.
- Eat veggies. At meals and parties, don’t ignore the fruits and vegetables. They make great snacks and even better side or main dishes. Don’t cover them with creamy dressings, sauces or butter.
- Navigate Buffets. Wander around the buffet table before putting anything on your plate. By checking out all options, you locate the healthy foods which are not at the front table.
- Eat before you shop. Eat before you go shopping so the scent of food doesn’t tempt you to mindlessly treat yourself with food don’t need.
- Remember your heart. Avoid eating and preparing food high in saturated fats. Lard, shortening, vegetable oils and other poor-quality fats are not good for the heart. Prepare turkey or fish or better quality red meat.
- Moderation is the key. Stress increases during the holidays. The pressure to be a part of the celebration is great and can be overwhelming. Slow down and that includes eating. Although food is an integral part of the holidays, the focus on family and friends, laughter and cheer. Let moderation be your guide.
- Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Alcohol increases your appetite and invites you to binge eat.
Happy Holidays from your friends at FoodologyInc! Invite us to your next professional development training or Wellness Fair. Let us lead your next weight loss program. Our wellness workshops are powerful!
Watch our video on our YouTube channels for more healthy diet plans. Contact us at www.foodologyinc.com.
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