When it comes to the holidays, I think there is a potential for us all to have a love/hate affair with them. We love them, because of all the wonderful food associated with the holidays, but face it, so many of us just wince when we think about the potential of weight gain. Last year, and the year before that even, I did not gain over the holidays, so I want to pass along a simple survival guide for weight maintenance.
Stick on Your Basic Diet Routine
If you have created a good diet routine, then you are blessed to have a firm foundation in which to work. You already have the habits in place to monitor your daily food intake. Know that it is okay to have a bite or two of a holiday treat. Remember this does not mean to overindulge and eat the entire plate of cookies, but just taste them. By tasting slowly, you can enjoy the flavor without consuming the volume which adds all of the calories. Enjoy a treat and don’t deprive yourself, just know that this isn’t a license to have all you want. Also don’t eat anything and everything. Select only the best treats and sample them. Don’t feel guilty, enjoy it, because in 2 weeks, the holidays will be over and the New Year’s Resolutions will begin.
For those that don’t have a good foundation with a healthy eating plan, realize that in a couple of weeks you will need to start one, so in the meantime, go for the fresh vegetables rather than casseroles, select smaller portions of the most fat and caloric-dense foods, eat smaller portions of meats and cheeses, drink more water and exercise. Eat your treats sparingly. If you can do this, then you will be proud of yourself for not going crazy and will be in the mode to get serious right after New Year’s because you are laying the ground work for more discipline.
Only Keep Your Favorite Treats in the House
Your sweet tooth is sure to talk to you over the Christmas/Hannukah holidays and it is okay to answer it sometimes. Only keep the very best temptations in your house, the sweets that will satisfy you. If you are satisfied, then you don’t have to keep eating. So if some well-meaning friend or associate brings you something that isn’t your favorite, then recycle. Take it to work, church, but get it out of your line of sight. Offer it to the people who come to work on your house or your mechanic, people like that always enjoy an extra treat with their coffee, and most of them are moving around enough to burn the extra calories. It’s your kitchen, so stack the deck in your favor.
I think one of the most helpful things that kept me from gaining over the holidays is that I exercised more. My holiday exercise schedule was to go in 5 days a week. For 3 days, I did my walking/jogging and machines and free weights. For the other 2 days, I walked/jogged only and let my muscles rest. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, I upped my daily walk/jog from 30 minutes to 45. Because I am someone that likes to cook and spare no calories for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I chose to enjoy my food (not in massive quantities), but upped the ante on the exercise too. I know you are busy, but find ways to move more. It will help clear out your head during this hectic time.
Enjoy Your Dinner
You don’t eat a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal every day. If you indulge and enjoy the wonderful food without imposing guilt on yourself, you will feel very satisfied and won’t feel deprived. We deserve that nice feeling a couple of times a year, enjoy it! After all, we have the whole year to feel food guilt, so don’t do it on Christmas. It only takes a couple of days to burn off the excess calories consumed. Just don’t make a habit of it!
You can enjoy your holidays without adding on the pounds. Remember that the holiday menus are not your new norm. This isn’t the way you are going to eat from here on out. Keep that blueprint of good habits in your frame of reference, because that is where you will go back to when these next couple of weeks are over. Enjoy your dinner, because somebody worked very hard to fix it. Enjoy your holidays and stay healthy and slim.