First, as mentioned in my previous post about holiday weight gain there is some “light” at the end of the holiday feast. The good news: most Americans appear to only gain about 1 lb. of body weight during the holidays on average. The bad news, however, is that it’s a pound that adds up each and every year.
Here are 7 tips to avoid gaining that extra holiday weight:
- Exercise: Try to increase the amount of exercise you get in October, November and December, and be especially sure to get in a good workout on Thanksgiving morning (and/or take a nice long walk after dinner).
- Hydrate: When it comes to drinking, space out your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water or club soda in between.
- Avoid: At parties, don’t stand near the food table!
- Moderate: Remember that you can still indulge without going overboard: Pumpkin pie is generally a much better choice than pecan, and after you’ve tasted the first two to four Christmas cookies, there are diminishing returns as far as satisfaction goes for the next ones…so quit while you’re ahead.
- Save: Pay attention to satiety cues: take what you want at a big meal, but do so slowly. Once you’re not actively hungry anymore, but well before you have that stuffed, uncomfortable feeling, take a 15 minute eating break. If your hunger remains satisfied but you still “feel” like eating the yummy foods for their taste, take a sensibly sized doggie bag home and enjoy the leftovers tomorrow when you’re truly hungry again.
- Prepare: If you’re hosting a festive meal or party, help your guests make good choices and avoid putting out high-calorie appetizers like nuts, chips, dips and cheeses as a premeal snack. Raw or lightly steamed veggies in a lower calorie dip like salsa, hummus or onion dip made with fat-free plain Greek yogurt will help them fill up on healthy fiber and avoid piling on the calories before the meal even starts.
- Eat: Don’t arrive at a large holiday meal or party starving! I never recommend skipping meals on the day of a holiday in anticipation of “saving your calories” for later, because the hungrier you are, the more likely you are to overdo it. Have a light, protein- and fiber-rich breakfast in the morning–like an egg white and veggie omelet on whole grain toast or fat-free Greek yogurt with fruit. If dinner is going to be late, be sure to have a light lunch as well. If it’s in the afternoon, have a small healthy snack–like an apple with some peanut butter, for example–within an hour of leaving your house for the meal.