Most people gain weight during the holidays, so I encourage all my clients to know that simply maintaining your weight is a victory.
It's not easy to maintain your weight this time of year when our societal traditions make it acceptable to cook and eat the most fattening food--and lots of it. You'll have to think differently and be mindful, but I know you can avoid gaining weight!
Here are my top seven tips to help you not gain any weight during the holidays:
1. Focus on Family and Friends
At your holiday gatherings, remember you have an opportunity to spend quality time with family, friends, and colleagues. Now is the time to have fun and meaningful interactions with the people you care about. Allow food to become a less important part of your holiday-party experiences.
2. Keep Portion Sizes Appropriate at Parties
If you find yourself at a potluck holiday party where each guest was asked to bring a dish to serve eight, be aware of the pitfalls ahead. There will be eight times as much food at the buffet than needed. You are not compelled to eat it all! When you put food on your plate, keep your portion sizes appropriate and be at peace with leaving behind lots of leftovers.
3. Suggest Family Activities Away from Food
When family time at the holidays starts to center around eating, it's time to take the lead and suggest other activities. You can bring your favorite game, lead a family walk in the woods, or organize an outing to a bowling alley or museum. You may find other family members who actually appreciate your efforts to move away from eating. Remember, others are watching their waistlines too.
4. Eat a Healthy Snack Before Going to a Party
We're all susceptible to over-eating at holiday parties. 'Tis the season for encountering the most fattening fare of the year. So you won't over-eat at the party, don't arrive hungry. Have a healthy snack at home before you leave. This way, the food at the party won't be so tempting.
5. Keep Your Normal Exercise Routine
The holiday season isn't the time to alter your normal exercise routine. You rely on your exercise for many reasons, like keeping your weight under control and managing stress. During the holiday season, you need these benefits more than ever!
6. Maintain Your Normal, Healthy Eating Routine--and Don't Skip Meals
You work hard everyday to eat balanced, healthy meals. During the holidays, don't abandon this routine. For example, it's counter-intuitive to skip your regular meals in anticipation of overeating at gatherings. Why? If you skip lunch before an evening party, you'll arrive ravenous and end up eating much more than you normally would.
7. Reduce Your Alcoholic Drinks
For some people, alcohol encourages over-eating because it dampens self-control. So be careful with over-imbibing. And stay away from heavy drinks like eggnog which have an excessive amount of calories. Choose lower-calorie alternatives like club soda with lime or wine spritzers. I also want you to arrive home safely from the party, so be careful not to over-drink.