The holiday season is upon us and this is the time of year people start to over indulge more often, workout less, and want to sit inside with hot chocolate and snuggle, instead of getting in steps. If you fear the holiday weight gain check out these 8 tips on how to prevent putting on extra pounds over the next month.
Don’t fear the food, enjoy it. Thanksgiving and Christmas should be looked at as the meal you indulge in for the week. (Check out my blog on how diets don’t work because too much restriction causes you to eat unhealthy more often.) Eat healthy food and get in exercise in the days leading up to the holiday and the days after so that you can enjoy your holiday meals.
When filling up your plate get the food you actually really enjoy. If you aren’t really a fan of sweet potatoes but feel like, “Hey, it is the holidays and its tradition” then you’re just wasting calories and a spot on your plate that could be used for something you actually enjoy.
Between eating dinner and dessert go for a 20-30 minute walk. Not only does this help your muscles take up all the blood sugars floating around from your big meal, but you are making room for your favorite pie.
Prepare starches the right way. When cooking starches you should cook them and then let them cool. This creates a resistant starch that your body cannot digest. This causes more space to be taken up in your stomach making you feel fuller faster, which can help you eat less without even knowing it. So prepare your starchy sides the day before or the morning of. Not only does this help you consume less calories but also helps you prepare food in advance.
Prepare your meals with REAL food, not from a can. Eating real food helps your body digest the food better. The body converts processed foods into sugars a lot faster then if you were eating the food fresh. For example, for green bean casserole use fresh green beans and make your own cream of mushroom - it is a lot easier then you think. Here is a recipe that is way better then stuff from a can: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/alton-brown/best-ever-green-bean-casserole.html
Don’t show up starving. Before you know it, you will have blown through the appetizers, dinner and dessert and be on the couch bloated. Just because this is your indulgent meal for the week doesn’t mean you should starve yourself beforehand, you will eat twice as much if you do this. Eat breakfast that day and a snack before you arrive. Focus on protein that is low in fat to keep you full till you can start eating. Low fat string cheese and low sugar jerky are good snacks to eat.
Don’t freak out about your weight the day or a couple days after the holidays. If you have stuck to all of my tips this is just water weight. Get in a good workout and get back to your regular healthy eating and these extra pounds will be gone before you know it. DO NOT go to the extremes and crash diet; this will only result in more weight gain when you go off the diet.
Last tip is enjoy the holidays! The holidays only come around once a year, this is a time to enjoy yourself and your family, not stress about food. Don’t fear food or be upset with yourself for enjoying the food. Having guilt about your food is not healthy either.
Sticking to an 80-20 rule (80% healthy eating and 20% whatever you want) is better for keeping the pounds off just be strategic about how you approach it. When you eat to the point of being sick or continue eating unhealthy after the holidays that is when you will see pounds being packed on that are not just water weight.
Don’t let your fear of food and weight ruin this time for you. Happy Holidays!