By Betty Murray
Christmas is just a few days away, and thus begins the flurry of holiday parties. These last few weeks of the year can be stressful for anyone trying to lose weight. How can you manage the holiday season without gaining weight (yet still enjoying yourself?)
Here five tips to help you enjoy the holidays without putting on extra pounds:
- Don’t skip meals. If you skip breakfast and lunch just to “make room” for that big dinner you’re planning, you may actually end up eating more. Not to mention, you’ll be more drawn to the snack table if you arrive to the party hungry. Stick to your normal eating routine, and be sure you start your day with a healthy breakfast. Avoid grazing throughout the day — doing so can pack on a significant amount of calories.
- Plan ahead. Establish a game plan so you’ll know what you will and won’t eat before you arrive at that holiday party. Fill up on healthy fruits and vegetables at breakfast and lunch so you won’t be so tempted to indulge in all the unhealthy party food. Another trick is to use a small plate when going through a buffet line and fill it with mostly fruits and veggies so you’ll have less room for sweets.
- Do not deprive yourself. It’s the holiday season, and that means it’s fair to enjoy yourself. If you deprive yourself of every one of your favorite holiday treats, you could fall into a trap of binge eating later. Allow yourself to indulge in a small serving of your favorite holiday treat; just don’t overdo it.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol contains calories, just like food, but the calories in alcohol could be considered “empty” calories because they will not satisfy your hunger. The more you drink, the more you’ll crave — and few people crave healthy snacks when they drink! Limiting alcohol can be particularly challenging when attending an open bar holiday party. Use self control. Sip on a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail, but limit yourself to one drink.
- Activate the “buddy system.” When possible, don’t attend a holiday gathering alone. Instead, take a close friend or family member with you — someone you trust. If you’re worried you’ll overeat, as your buddy to hold you accountable and encourage you to skip that second round of goodies. Taking someone with you can also be valuable if holiday parties and gatherings cause you stress. We tend to eat more when we’re stressed, so take someone who will have your back when you attend that awkward or difficult family get together.
Between parties with family and friends, potlucks in the office, holiday baking and that Christmas or New Year’s feast, it’s easy to see how holiday weight gain is so common. Use these tips and tricks to help keep your holiday season healthy and happy, and be sure to keep time for exercise in your busy holiday schedule.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.