A word to the wise: don’t try to lose weight during the holiday season. This is a really difficult time to work on weight loss, thanks to the PARTIES! and COOKIES! and COMPANY VISITING! You’ll end up either a) frustrated beyond belief or b) full of guilt and angst. I know. I’ve done it for more than a few holiday seasons.
Instead of vowing to lose, why not make a commitment to maintain and avoid further weight gain. Here are five tips that can help you stay in the right direction:
- Before you attend a party, take some time to burn extra calories. Take an extra long walk, do an extra bike ride or exercise DVD. Eat lightly during the day. Don’t skip a meal, for that makes you so hungry that the next meal become a free for all.
- Avoid alcohol. Full of empty calories and not much else, alcoholic drinks can quickly add unwanted calories to your daily budget. If you really must have a drink, limit yourself to one of your favorites and then switch to a wine spritzer or even water with pieces of fruit (every bar has cherries, lemons, limes and oranges.) This is actually a really yummy drink.
- Everyone has a holiday treat that just makes the meal. For me, it’s pumpkin pie. When I make pumpkin pie, I make some small adjustments. I use egg beaters, fat-free evaporated milk, and I cook the filling in the Crock Pot, rather than in a pie crust. This allows me to enjoy my pie in a delicious, lower fat version. Take some time to experiment with your favorite recipe – maybe you can cut the sugar, use non-fat milk or egg substitute. Possibly you can switch the oil for applesauce. If you are stuck, look online. There are lots of websites devoted to healthy changes in any recipe.
- Watch your portion size. If you simply must have Great Aunt Edna’s Pecan Pie – and that would be ME! – go with a small slice, not half the pie. Remember, everything in moderation – as soon as you put any food off limits, you are virtually guaranteed to crave it even more.
- Stress leads to overeating. Think carefully about your plans for the holiday season. Do you really have to do everything? Just because you always see the parade doesn’t mean that you have to this year, especially if it stresses you out. Take the time to get enough sleep, take your vitamins, and use your exercise to relieve stress.
The holiday season doesn’t have to equal weight gain. With just a little prep work, you can avoid the weight gain and start the new year in a great position!
December 7th, 2009