Just when you make it through Halloween without adding an entire bag of fun size candy bars to your hips, the holiday season throws you a real curve ball. Here's what to do -- and not do -- when it comes to holiday weight gain.
Keep fast, easy, healthful meals on-hand -- diet-friendly frozen dinners, pre-packaged salads, and sandwich makings -- for hectic days that could lead you to order pizza or stop for takeout.
Make healthy recipe ingredient substitutions in holiday baking. At parties, allow yourself small portions of regular sweets and baked goods, but only eat the ones you really want. By enjoying some treats rather than going "cold turkey" on your favorites, you will feel less deprived and be more likely to stay on track.
Try to center family entertainment around non-eating activities such as playing a game of football, viewing old family films, watching a holiday movie, or singing carols together.
Offer to bring your favorite diet-friendly dish to holiday parties or meals. Not only does that guarantee that there will be at least one diet-friendly item on offer, it will give other guests a chance to try a healthy dish that may become a favorite. (Bring the recipe!)
Keep walking regularly. Shopping is a great way to get some movement, but don't use that as an excuse not to get in a brisk 30-minute daily walk as well. If the weather is inclement, check out walking exercise videos at the library.
Have a small, healthful snack before leaving for a party or get-together to prevent over-indulging on the typical high-fat fare offered at holidays events.
Down at least one glass of water before each alcoholic beverage at parties or dinners. Not only will doing so help you drink less, water will lessen the effects of dehydration, which can easily be mistaken for hunger.
Try to diet during the holiday season. It's really hard to commit to a new diet this time of year with all the food around and the hustle-and-bustle. Instead, focus on maintaining rather than losing weight.
Drink on an empty stomach. Not only will the beverage have a greater effect on you, it can lead to overeating and overdrinking. Drinks are high in calories and an easy way to pack on extra weight. According to Calorie Count, for example, just one shot (one and a half ounces) of gin has nearly 100 calories.
Skip meals in anticipation of a party or holiday meal. You will only set yourself up for becoming overly-hungry which inevitably leads to overeating and paying little attention to portion control.
Stand next to the buffet at a holiday party. Serve yourself small portions and then make your way to the other side of the room. After all, parties are for mingling. If you get caught up in a good conversation, you may never return to the spread. But, if you're standing next to it while you're talking (or worse, not talking), you're sure to reach for more.
Eat quickly because you're in a rush. When you eat too quickly, you're likely to eat too much because you don't give your body time to register that you're no longer hungry. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes from the time you eat until your body "knows" it is full. Slow down and take a breather when it's time to eat.