During The Holidays, Focus on Maintenance Not LossNovember 3, 2018
Ah, the holiday season is upon us. We just got done with the Halloween candy; now it’s time for a huge turkey dinner and a plethora of pies, soon to be followed by cookies and cocoa. Then comes mass migration to the health food store and the gym so everyone can “work off” all the weight gain accrued over said holidays.
The other side of the coin are those who stay on a diet, committed to weight loss despite what time of year it is. They absolutely cannot go to the party unless there will be keto food (or whatever other diet du jour is in vogue at the moment), or they spend as much on special shakes, wraps and pills as they do on Christmas gifts.
Rather than stressing yourself out and being too restrictive or throwing all caution to the wind figuring you will take care of it later, why not just find “the middle ground”? The holidays are not a time to diet or try to lose weight. The focus should be on maintenance. Do your best to not gain weight. Then once the holidays are over, and the temptation and multiple gatherings are no longer in your face, you can resume your efforts to slim down. But how do you do this with all of the parties and treats?
When you are headed out to a party or holiday gathering, follow these simple rules:
-Try to eat a balanced, healthy meal earlier in the day, such as lunch if it’s a dinner party. If you show up to the party hungry, it will be harder to resist overeating.
-Stay hydrated. Sometimes when you think you are hungry, you might really be thirsty. Digestion and metabolism work better when you are hydrated. In addition, if you are imbibing in libations, having a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage slows down your liquor consumption and prevents hangovers if you do drink too much. Don’t forget to be mindful of how much you drink – not only for safety purposes, but those calories from both the alcohol and the mixers can add up quickly if you aren’t careful.
-Bring a healthy dish to share! This way you know there will be at least one thing you can eat.
-Don’t feel like you have to sample everything. Scan the buffet, fill your plate with the healthiest choices, then round it out with small portions of the items that truly look too irresistible to skip. Don’t waste your calories with the things that don’t thrill you.
-Don’t hang out near the food. Once you have finished eating, pop a mint or chew some gum and move away from the buffet table.
For those endless trays of treats at work, again, bring something of your own to share. You can also keep some good quality dark chocolate in your drawer and a bowl of fragrant fruit on your desk so when everyone’s munching down their 5th sugar cookie of the day, you don’t have to feel deprived.
Another thing to help keep you from gaining weight over the holidays is exercise. Try to keep your current routine going; don’t add more. If you find you are too busy and not getting your regular workouts in, try adding more activity into your day to make up for it. Park at the back of the lot when Christmas shopping and walk up the escalator! Let’s not forget all of the opportunities to combine the festivities with exercise! Dance at that party! Go ice skating! Get a group of carolers together to walk through your neighborhood. Play some touch football after your Thanksgiving meal instead of just watching it on TV.
Managing stress and getting enough sleep are also paramount to good health. Don’t overdo the decorating and party planning. Learn that it’s ok to say no if you have too much on your plate. Try giving back to those less fortunate by volunteering. This will do your heart some good and help put things like the commercialism of the season into perspective.
Lastly, don’t stress about that 5th cookie. Enjoy it and move on.