The holidays are often a time of stepping away from our normal routine. From office parties to family gatherings, the holidays can wreak havoc on our normally healthy eating habits. Add in the stress of holiday shopping, relatives in town and school being out, and you have a recipe for overindulging.
Did you know the average person gains 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas! Seriously, in that short window of time we can gain a pant size or more. And although we have great intentions to lose the weight in the New Year (many of us even make weight loss our main resolution) very few of us reach our goals without support.
Looking to keep your weight steady this holiday season or even lose a few pounds. It is possible! Join me for a 5-Day Detox.
Pick a day between Thanksgiving and Christmas and commit to 5 days of clean and healthy eating. The 5-Day Detox can not only help you lose weight during the holidays, but it can also eliminate cravings for unhealthy food, boost your mood and improve your sleep—all things that are much needed during this festive season. Find out how to get started HERE.
Not ready for a detox, these 10 simple tips can help you avoid holiday weight gain and still enjoy the festivities.
- Control your portions. If you’re looking to maintain your weight over the holidays, you need to pay close attention to not just what you eat but how much you eat. When given the choice of a small or large plate, I always choose the small one as studies show people eat less when they use a smaller plate. And don’t feel compelled to clean your dish—leaving a few bites at each meal can add up to a lot of saved calories.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand. The holidays are often a time when a barrage of candy and other sweet treats show up in the office and at friend’s houses. I always try and keep healthy snacks on hand. Not letting yourself get too hungry can make it easier to say “No, thank you” when offered a holiday treat.
- Offer to bring a dish. Whether you’re going to a party or a holiday dinner, offer to bring a healthy side dish, appetizer or dessert. Contributing a healthy dish like shrimp cocktail, vegetables and dip or fruit salad will provide you with at least one healthy option to keep you on track. When I attend a party, I almost always bring a vegetable platter with hummus. The host is usually thrilled that I made the effort to bring something and I’m thrilled I have a healthy alternative among mostly unhealthy and high calorie choices.
- Start the day out right. It used to be that the holidays would wreak havoc on my weight loss goals. By January, I often found myself 4 to 5 pounds heavier than in November. These days, I actually get through the holidays without having gained an ounce. By eating a light breakfast and a healthy lunch, I can still indulge at office holiday parties or festive family dinners without gaining any weight. However, if I indulge at every meal, I begin to pack on the holiday pounds. Focus on eating a light breakfast like a veggie omelet or strawberry banana smoothie and a healthy lunch like a garden salad with grilled chicken or fish. Small changes can help you enjoy the holidays without fear of tipping the scales in the New Year.
- Choose your alcohol carefully. Did you know a 10-ounce Long Island Ice Tea contains about the same number of calories as a McDonald’s Big Mac? Not only do some drinks pack a huge calorie punch, but research also shows that people often eat more when alcohol is consumed. You can control the number of calories you drink by choosing light beer, wine or mixed drinks with non-caloric mixers rather than fancy mixed drinks. For example, a typical vodka tonic can have more than 160 calories while a vodka and club soda can have as little as 100. Also, I find that if I drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink, I tend to consume less calories during an event.
- Make healthy choices first. When I go to a holiday party, I always try to choose healthy options before indulging in the not-so-healthy treats. I find this helps keep me from overindulging. When I finally give myself the green light to dig into some high calorie holiday favorites, I’m no longer famished and I find I’m more easily satisfied with a small portion.
- Choose only your favorites. Just like making healthy choices first, choosing to indulge only on your favorite foods is a great way to keep from overeating. People often feel like they need to try a little of everything—I used to be one of those people—but by only selecting foods that you know you love, you can cut down on your calorie consumption and still be entirely satisfied.
- Exercise first thing in the morning. Busy, busy, busy. That’s how I feel during the holidays. I never seem to have enough time to accomplish everything I need to get done in the day. Therefore, I find that the only way I’m likely to exercise is if I do it first thing in the morning before the chaos of the holiday season begins. Working out first thing in the morning will ensure you’ll burn off those extra calories so you can indulge at the company holiday party without guilt. Still worried you’ll pack on a few unwanted holiday pounds? Adding just 10 minutes to your current exercise routine can give you just the extra calorie burn you need to ward off those extra pounds.
- Drink plenty of water. One can often confuse thirst for hunger—making us more likely to overeat if we’re not getting enough water. During the winter months, it’s easy to become dehydrated without even realizing it. Factors such as cold air, wind and inadequate fluid intake can all contribute to dehydration. Staying hydrated can help encourage good choices. Not to mention, drinking water is important to your overall health and weight loss.
- Don’t “go” hungry. Before going to a holiday party, have a healthy snack or meal so you won’t feel compelled to overindulge or make poor choices. The worst thing you can do is show up to a party ravenous and find only options like “pigs in a blanket,” sliders and fried Mozzarella.
The holidays should be a festive time to enjoy family and friends, not a time to feel guilty or be consumed with thoughts of gaining weight. Following all, or even just a few, of the holiday survival tips can make your holidays guilt-free. Don’t let holiday weight gain sneak up on you this year—let this new found knowledge help you enjoy the holidays leaner and happier!
And don’t forget, to join me for a 5-Day Detox. The program provides everything you need to succeed, including easy-to-follow, day-by-day meal plans, delicious recipes, shopping lists, detox guide and even a short-on-time version for the busy person. I hope you’ll join me! Learn more HERE!