Just as you finish that last bite of Halloween candy, Thanksgiving arrives. Before the leftovers are even packed away, it’s time for Christmas and New Year’s. With all of these food-centered holidays packed into a few months, it can be hard to stick to your weight loss goals. Use these simple tips to stay on track and avoid packing on the pounds this year.
- Eat before you head out. If you have a healthy meal that fills you up, you’ll be less tempted by the sweet and usually fattening treats offered at holiday parties.
- Cook healthy choices when you host a party. Bring a low-calorie dish as your contribution to a work or family function so you know there will be at least one item you can eat without guilt.
- Set limits ahead of time. Plan to have plenty of salad and veggies, a very small amount of delicious but high-calorie buffet items, and maybe one small sample of dessert. Make it a game to decide which of the options is going to make it as your choice! Eat slowly to make your food last and give your stomach time to send the brain a “full” message.
- Remind yourself of the incentives. Make a list to keep handy or read before you head out to a holiday event. List reasons for losing weight including: that swimsuit for your spring vacation, impressing your family or friends, getting into your favorite jeans, and living healthier for your kids.
- Practice saying “no, thank you.” Wanting to avoid being rude is an easy way to rationalize holiday indulgence. Instead, look at your diet as a necessary health choice, just as you would if you were allergic to something. It’s even okay to say “no, thank you” to entire events that you feel would provide too much temptation.
- Socialize more. Spend more time talking to people at parties than eating. Keep your hands full with a fizzy but low-calorie sparkling water with fruit garnish for flavor. If you’re hands are full of your drink and you’re busy chatting away, you won’t have much time to eat. Don’t stand near or in a direct eye line of the buffet.
- Buddy up with a friend who has your same desire to avoid extra holiday pounds. You can scour the buffet for healthy options together. Set up an exercise plan as well. You can walk the malls and get in your holiday shopping at the same time as your exercise. Use the cold weather as a chance to go play outside and get your heart pumping in a snowball fight, sledding race, or just an invigorating walk.
- Take time to de-stress. The holidays are the most stressful time of the year and eating for comfort may seem effective, but in the long run, you’ll be even more stressed out. Get your holiday shopping done early or online. Buying gift cards are a stress-free way to get everyone on your list exactly what they want. Spend more time by the fire with the ones you love and less time thinking about work and bills.
- Embrace the holiday spirit of giving. Volunteering your time at a soup kitchen or other charity can serve as a reminder that you don’t need to overindulge. It will also keep you busy and moving around with less time to snack.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Alcoholic drinks are full of calories. An easy way to cut calories is to cut back on drinks.
Medical Center Arlington wants to wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. Have fun and stay motivated. If you want to know more about how to manage your weight, especially during the holidays, visit us at Diet Detectives: Spotting Sensible Diets. Happy holidays!