Celebrate the holidays with family, friends and food without guilt. By following a few simple suggestions and making some easy adjustments, and you can avoid gaining the “Dreaded Holiday 10.”
Here are some tips to help you maintain your weight, or perhaps even drop a pound or two:
• Don’t deny yourself. Reduce your portion size; take a taste of everything you like, so that you can satisfy your palate.
• Choose a smaller plate or saucer when going through a buffet.
• Avoid sauces and gravy. If you must, serve yourself a small amount.
• Select fresh, not commercially prepared and packaged, foods. Packaged foods are high in fat, sugars and sodium, even those that are labeled “low fat” and “low sugar.”
• Be mindful of the number of cheese cubes, nuts, cookies, crackers and other finger foods that you put on your plate.
• Eat finger foods one at a time and savor each flavor.
• When eating, put your utensils down while you’re chewing. Be sure to chew thoroughly and wait until your mouth is empty before taking another bite.
• Start each day with a good balanced breakfast; you’ll be less hungry for the rest of the day.
• Don’t skip meals to “save up calories” for the party. In fact, if you know you’re going to be tempted by a big selection of high-calorie foods, have a light snack of fresh fruit or raw vegetables and a little bit of protein before you go.
• Watch your alcohol consumption. If you love wines, consider having spritzers made with club soda and a splash of your favorite wine. Or alternate your alcoholic beverage with a serving of water or other low-calorie drink.
• Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated. It’s a good habit to carry on throughout the year.
As for exercise, if you have an ongoing routine, do your best to stick with it. Schedule it on your calendar just like any other appointment. If you are too busy, try these suggestions to add some good-for-you movement into your life during the busy holidays.
• Park your car at the far side of the parking lot at the malls, even if there are closer spaces.
• Take a break from sedentary tasks, such as wrapping presents or working in the kitchen for long stretches, by adding several 10-minute walks outdoors during the day.
• Do simple stretches to keep your muscles loose. For instance, you can do squats or calf raises while standing at your kitchen counter. Reach to the ceiling for good arm and shoulder stretches.
• Get down on the floor and play with the kids. It’s a great way to bond and be eye-to-eye with them.
The holidays can be challenging with all the delicious foods at every event or around every corner in your home. Set a few easily attainable goals, stick with them and enjoy the season, knowing that you will still be able to fit into your clothes after January 1.