The holidays are upon us again. From the last Thursday in November, through the 1st of January, your schedule is inundated with gift exchanges, cocktail and holiday parties, and as always: So. Much. Food. It seems everywhere you go, there’s always something to eat. That something also always comes in 14 different flavors, smothered in some sort of delicious cheese. The average American gains between 7-10 pounds over the course of the holiday season. So how do we combat this side effect of “the most wonderful time of the year”? The following tips should help you avoid holiday weight gain and prevent adding any inches to your waistline over the next few weeks.
Don’t skip breakfast.
It may seem like a good idea to avoid eating the whole day leading up to the big meal, but don’t make this rookie mistake. Starving yourself all day so you can stuff your face at dinner is a pretty good guarantee that you’re going to overeat… and then hate yourself. Make sure you eat, at the very least, a small protein-rich breakfast; this will help get your metabolism going, keep you full most of the day, and help prevent any major self-loathing.
The stretchy pants are not your friend.
I repeat, the stretchy pants are NOT your friend. It may seem like the safe option to wear your favorite pants with a little extra “give” in the waistband, but this will almost always backfire. Plan an outfit with a lack of stretch in mind. The amount of stretch in an outfit is directly correlated to how many times one will go back for seconds, thirds, etc. This is not to say you should show up to your grandparents house in a corset, but you get the idea.
At the party
Watch your snacking.
Do you have a habit of hardcore snacking throughout the day and ruining your appetite? This can turn dangerous on a big holiday; one delicious cheese tray can be the difference between maintaining a normal calorie intake and plummeting off a cliff into the world of “I no longer care.” If you must snack, find the fruits and vegetable tray, and pretend to love celery.
Don’t waste calories on alcohol.
Save yourself the stress of counting beverage calories and just drink water: it’ll keep you full, thus preventing overeating. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine or two with your meal, but make sure not to drink all your calories.
Focus on the people, not the food.
If you’re more concerned with catching up with family and friends — instead of leering at the 10 different pies that your grandma insisted on cooking– you’ll be less likely to overeat. P.S: being the hostess makes it much easier to do this.
Don’t fall victim to the food coma.
No matter how sleepy you get after devouring that turkey, don’t let yourself go into hibernation. It’s often common practice for families to all collapse in front of the tv after the meal. Try something new this year:
- Take a Walk after dinner. It’s a low-impact way to burn a few calories and keep your body moving. Try and convince someone to come with you… if you can drag them off the couch.
- Volunteer for dish duty. If the weather in your area doesn’t permit for a walk, offer to help with meal clean up. When you’re busy and distracted washing off everyone’s plate, you won’t be tempted to go back for your fifth helping of turkey and stuffing.
And, if you’re the host(ess)…
- Take control of the recipes. Do some recipe planning: how many of the side dishes that you’re preparing come in a low-cal, low-fat, or sugar-free option? Many times you can trim hundreds of calories off a dish just by switching out some of the ingredients. So research which options you’re willing to part with, and make a healthy change!
- Turkey tip: Make sure the turkey is roasted or baked. You’ll avoid a huge number of calories just by choosing these, instead of deep-frying the turkey.