That dreaded 5 or 10 pounds seems to creep o this time of the year. Here are my favorite 20 tips to help you avoid holiday weight gain.
The holidays are here, and for many this means week so entertaining, indulging and basically forgetting to eat well. Extra junk calories seem to be everywhere, from eggnog, to fudge, to chocolates in your stocking.
As fun as this is to enjoy all of these, it you do, it inevitably leads to a weight gain in January.
Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Even though a pound or two doesn’t seem as though it matters, the fact is that most people do not lose the weight they gain and that can add up to many extra pounds over time.
But gaining weight is not a foregone conclusion, especially if you keep a few tips in mind while you go about your holiday partying. The trick is to practice moderation and do a bit of planning ahead.
1. Exercise early
If you know that you will be indulging later, do some exercise earlier in the day. This will help to boost your metabolism a bit and may work off a few of the calories that you will eat later.
2. Be Picky
When you are faced with a buffet table, do a lap first to see which foods really appeal to you. There is no sense in loading your plate with calorie laden foods that are not your favorites.
Save the extra calories for things that you especially love to eat.
3. Buddy up
It is so much easier to stick to a healthy eating plan if you are doing it with someone else. Meet often, plan and strategize on the tips that each of you can use to help keep your diet on track.
4. Never arrive hungry
This is the old shopping trick that dieters use. In the same way that you don’t grocery shop when you are hungry, don’t go to a party hungry. This is a sure fire recipe for over eating.
Have a nutritious snack before you leave.
5. Drink water
Have a glass of water when you arrive at a party. It fills you up and also gives you a benefit of glowing skin. You can never drink too much water. It is a dieter’s friend.
I have a Brita water pitcher in the fridge that filters my water. It makes city water taste great and really encourages me to drink up.
6. Avoid banking calories
Sure, it sounds like a great idea to skip eating on the day of a party so that you will have calories to spare. Don’t do it.
You will arrive ravenous and eat way more than if you just eat sensibly eating during the day of the party.
7. Use a 3 bite rule for fattening foods and sweets
For me, the first few bites of anything are the most satisfying. Practice eating just three bites of those foods that you know are full of calories.
You will get that taste you want without breaking the calorie bank.
8. Count with toothpicks
Appetizer food is gone in a flash but the calories add up. Decide how many you will have and keep count by putting the toothpicks in your pocket. Set a limit and stick to it.
9. Leave the left overs at the party
Bringing fattening left over food back to your home is simply a way to overeat two days in a row. Leave them at the party for the hostess to deal with! BUT…if you are the hostess, load up your ever so slim friends with the left overs so you won’t have them around the next day.
(I know…goose for the gander, but I did say SLIM friends!)
10. Limit the alcohol
Alcohol is calorie laden and more importantly, after a few drinks, you are more likely to lose your control. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water and low cal soft drinks. And avoid eggnog at all costs.
It’s alcoholic and full of extra calories that your body just does not need.
11. Bring your own food
Plan ahead and put together an especially tasty but low calorie recipe, such as my rice paper vegetable rolls. Low calorie food does not have to be a boring vegetable tray.
I served these vegetable rolls at my Christmas party last year and all of the guests liked them more than any of the fattening food I served! (even the men…)
12. Eat out less
Americans eat out at restaurants often. If you add in a party circuit as well as your restaurant meals, you will be sure to gain over the holidays.
Aim to eat out less, cook more at home and then indulge on the party days.
13. Relieve stress
The holidays are a stressful time and many people stress eat. Do the things that you know will relieve your stress.
Walking, yoga, stretching, and meditation are all great stress relievers that will help you keep your diet plans in mind in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
14. Pass up the crunchies
Peanuts, pretzels, mixed nuts and chips (with dip!) are all full of calories. Skip these and save the calories for the treats you will really enjoy.
15. Avoid salty foods
I know that, for me, salty foods mean that I’ll want to finish with something sweet, but not the other way around. Salty foods also make you want to drink more. They also cause you to retain fluid.
Avoid salty food during the holidays.
A party is meant as a gathering to engage with your friends. Don’t stand near the buffet table. Move around the room and have fun instead.
You will eat far less than if you stand right where the food is located.
17. Wear a belt!
Sounds simple but it does work. Wearing a belt will let you know if you are eating too much by feeling tighter. And definitely so stretch waist bands!18. Remind yourself with jewelry
Be conscious. When you dress, choose a piece of jewelry that you love and make it be a reminder to stick to your diet.
It’s just a conscious thought before hand that will remind you during the party when you look at it.
19. Chew slowly
Put your fork down between bites. This is an old weight watchers trick but it really does work. Consciously eating slowly and putting your fork down between bites means less calories than mindlessly eating.
20. Practice saying no
It’s okay to say no. Don’t be afraid to tell a pushy hostess that you are just plain full and don’t need seconds.
It gets easier each time you do it and you will feel proud of yourself too.
Don’t get me wrong — the holiday season is all about celebrating, having fun, and indulging in the odd extra food delight, but with some careful planning, you can navigate holiday party food spreads, hectic schedules and find yourself in January at the same weight. And wouldn’t that be great?
What are some of your favorite tricks to avoid holiday weight gain? Leave your tips below in the comment section.