People don’t typically don’t gain as much weight as you are lead to believe during the holidays — just a couple of pounds. But the weight we gain is often never lost, so be careful this holiday season. Here are some tips for keeping weight off over the holidays:
- Stay active, even if it means small changes, like standing up during TV commercials, doing chair exercises or walking for an extra 10 minutes two or three times a day.
- Stick to foods that have one ingredient. This helps you avoid casseroles and desserts that may have hidden calories. This doesn’t mean limiting yourself to carrots and celery; all fruits and vegetables are fair game, even the sweet ones. Be careful with sweet or creamy dips, though.
- If you’re afraid there won’t be healthy choices at a party, don’t be afraid to pack your own healthy food. If you’re too shy to take your own food, fill your plate at the party and then go somewhere away from the buffet or kitchen to eat it. Don’t let yourself eat hundreds of mindless calories as you laugh in the kitchen.
- Write down what you eat. If it helps, use a website or smartphone app like MyFitnessPal (myfitnesspal.com) to budget your calories on days you know you’ll be going to a party or event.
- Watch out for alcohol. Beers commonly contain 200 calories or more per can, and mixed drinks often contain over 300 calories. Drink two glasses of water or another calorie-free fluid before you drink alcohol, eat a meal, or go near food at parties. One study showed that filling your stomach up this way can lead to 44 percent more weight loss than people who simply drink to their thirst.
- When you sit down to eat, think about what foods on the table you will regret not eating. Then avoid all the other stuff that you eat out of habit and not because you love it.
- Remember that the holidays are about fellowship, not food. Take time to enjoy the company of friends and family with or without booze and food.
- Don’t let one bad day get you down. If you overeat or indulge one day, evaluate which strategy you need to work harder on, and move forward!