Yuletide Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season…
Without Gaining Weight!
By Alana Gold, Registered Dietitian
‘Tis the season for irresistible treats, delicious eggnog—and a belly like our dear friend Santa. Between Christmas parties and family dinners, the temptations around this time of year seem difficult to resist. Truestar is here to help you indulge without the bulge this holiday season.
Contrary to popular belief, the average person does not gain five or more pounds during the holiday season. Studies show that the average weight gain is more like one pound. So, you may ask, “What’s the big deal?” Research also shows that we don’t shed that extra pound after the holidays, so the extra pounds add up over time.
Follow these yuletide tips for a healthier, leaner holiday season.
1. Eat before you go to a party. It is a common misconception that by skipping meals, you will eat fewer calories and lose weight. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Besides slowing down your metabolism, starving yourself during the day makes you more likely binge later at night. Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day and be sure to have a substantial snack before going to the party, so you are not starving and ravish everything in sight. For more helpful tips, read Dining Out and Losing Weight.
2. Downsize your portions. There’s no reason why you can’t have a taste of your favorite foods this holiday season—but “taste” is the operative word. Portion size is the key to healthy eating and weight control. Try filling your plate with hormonally balanced foods, including complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as chicken, turkey and fish and essential fats such as nuts and avocado.
3. Slow down when you eat. It takes 20 minutes from the time you eat until your brain gets the signal that you are full. Remember, it’s not a contest to see how many plates you can fill at the buffet line. Eat slowly, put your fork down between bites and take a moment after you eat to sit back and relax. Once those 20 minutes are up, you likely won’t need that second helping.
4. Limit the booze to help you lose. Sugar-laden alcohol contains many “empty calories” that contribute to weight gain. As well, drinking too much alcohol may increase your appetite and alter your judgment, making temptation next to impossible to resist. Try having a seltzer with a lime twist or glass of water between alcoholic drinks to help cut calories.
5. Track the foods you are eating. Studies show that writing down the foods you eat is an effective weight loss tool because it keeps you aware of your eating habits. During the holidays, take a few moments to write down the foods you are eating using the Truestar Food Journal or the Truestar Food Trakker, which allows you to enter the foods you have eaten in a day and see the nutritional breakdown including calories, protein and fat. These tools will help you keep track of your dietary goals this holiday season!
6. Keep up your exercise routine. Although the holidays may be a busy time, it is important to not skip your exercise routine. Remember, if you burn the calories you consume, your weight should stay the same. If you’re having trouble finding time to workout, try doing half of your regular routine, do a few laps around the mall before your holiday shopping or exercise first thing in the morning before the holiday rush swings into full gear.
7. Don’t forget to stay hydrated—and no, that doesn’t include alcohol! In fact, many of the holiday beverages and foods we eat actually dehydrate our bodies. Be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
8. Plan your indulgences wisely. If you are going to give into temptation, do so with thought. Don’t waste your calories on foods you don’t really love. Scope out the scene, ID the food you can’t live without and go for it—ideally a small portion of it of course!
9. Make healthier versions of holiday foods. Traditional holiday foods taste good but are loaded with fat and calories that are not good for your health. To make your favorite dishes healthier, try cooking the stuffing outside the turkey to avoid soaking up extra fat, pass the gravy though a skimmer and serve baked sweet potatoes instead of candied yams. Try some Truestar healthy holiday favorites.
10. Let your family and friends be the focus this holiday season. It’s hard not to be consumed by food during the holidays since cookies, chocolates and candy canes appear everywhere. But remember, the holidays are also about celebration and enjoying time with those around you. Try focusing more on family and friends and less on food to help you get through the holidays a little lighter.
With all that being said, Truestar is not here to be your personal Grinch this holiday season. If you find your scale isn’t your friend come the New Year, remember it’s just that—a new year! Set a weight loss goal that is both healthy and realistic and use the Truestar Weight Loss Program to help you achieve your goals this coming year.
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