The holidays are a time to offer thanks, to spend time with loved ones and a time to EAT – turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, etc. Unfortunately, the holidays are the time of year when many people end up putting on the extra “holiday pounds” which is easy to do for the season continues for just about two months! But the holidays come once a year.
What’s the point of refusing a piece of pecan pie, then feeling miserable? As my most successful strategies are about to reveal…..it’s absolutely OK to enjoy your favorite holiday treats and continue to make progress. Incorporate the following 7 strategies to fight back against the battle of the holiday bulge.
1. Make Exercise A Priority.
The first key to preventing weight gain is to increase your activity level. Besides burning extra holiday calories, exercise reduces stress, elevates your mood and gives you more energy. Sure it may seem difficult to fit in a workout when you are traveling, shopping, baking plus a ton of other holiday-related activities.
That’s why it’s important to first make a commitment to your fitness goals and incorporate short burst exercise into your routine – all you need is 90 minutes a week!
2. Have a Plan.
If you are known for overindulging, you must have a plan in place. Visualize what and how much you will eat before you approach the festive meals and treats. You can also incorporate a backup plan that requires you to be more active for that particular day, or the following day, to keep your metabolism humming so you burn off those extra calories.
3. Don’t Skip Meals.
On the day of the holiday feast, be sure to eat regularly all day long. If you will be eating in the evening, start with a supportive breakfast – particularly something with protein and high fiber carbohydrates. Be sure to eat something light in the afternoon like a quality high protein snack. Protein will help you feel full longer so you’ll be less likely to binge. Once you arrive, go ahead and indulge in some of the delightfully delicious foods. Since you have eaten meals earlier in the day, you will find that you aren’t as tempted to go overboard and eat everything in sight.
Whatever you do, do not starve yourself. Not only will you slow your metabolism down to a hearty fat storing rate, arriving ravenous will guarantee overindulgence.
4. Portion Control is Key.
Allow yourself to enjoy your favorite foods with the ones you love, but do so in moderation. Take time to survey the foods before you make your choices. Try a “serving-spoon” size of the foods you really want to eat and ½ the size of the foods you just want to try out. This way you can enjoy trying many different foods without overeating. Eat off a smaller plate and skip the seconds. Instead, save room for dessert. You don’t need to deprive yourself of the foods you love, otherwise your cravings will grow and you’ll be more likely to overindulge.
5. Wear Form-Fitting Clothes.
Want to really keep yourself honest and the same size during the holiday season? Wear your most form-fitting clothing. Another trick is to tie a string around your waist under your clothing to help keep you mindful of the actions you take during the holiday feast.
6. Limit or Avoid Alcoholic Beverages.
The average alcoholic drink contains 200 calories per glass while an 8-ounce cup of eggnog with rum contains 450 calories. Not only does alcohol pack a lot of empty calories, but over-consumption lowers inhibitions and self-control…..not a good combination when you’re near a buffet of festive foods! If you decide to drink alcohol, stick to light beer or a champagne spritzer or for non-alcoholic alternatives try club soda with lime, tomato juice or diet soda with a lime.
7. Practice the “Cheat Technique.”
If you make supportive food choices 80-90 percent of the time, you have every right to let loose and ”cheat” the other 10-20 percent. This not only allows you something to look forward to so you stay on track, you’ll also enjoy the festivities without carrying them around on your waistline and into the New Year.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
You have the choice to make fitness your priority. Thinking you’ll “get around to it” or that you are “waiting for right time” are simply excuses that take you nowhere. Make a plan, write it down, and stick to it. If you do over-do it, be forgiving of yourself and get back on track the following day.
Have a Fit and Healthy Holiday Season!