Tips for Surviving the Holidays

The average person can gain between 5-10 pounds in the 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Most people just accept that fact, making a resolution to lose it after the new year. But why wait? Gaining and losing weight frequently is dangerous! Why not be proactive, keeping the weight gain at bay.  You CAN survive the office parties, friend gatherings and family traditions! I have some great tips that will allow you to enjoy the holidays, while at the same time maintaining, or in some cases even losing, weight.

Tips for Holiday parties:

1. Eat before the party. Eat a small, clean meal and drink 16 oz of water BEFORE you go.  This way, you won’t be hungry.  You can still munch on some holiday treats, but will fill up quickly.

2. Don’t stand near the food. Gathering to talk near the food makes it way too easy to graze.  Stand or sit on the opposite side of the room.  That way you will have to walk all the way across the party to get more food.

3. Wear form fitting clothing. Guys, don’t wear your big pants, and wear a belt. I know this seems silly, but it really does work! You will be much less likely to over eat if you are wearing a close fitting outfit.

4. Treat drinks as dessert. Party punches, soda and cocktails can pack TONS of calories.  Alcohol is pure sugar and contains sometimes more calories than your favorite desserts.  Retrain yourself to see drinks other than water as desserts, and you’ll be less likely to have more than one or two. Don’t want to drink just plain old water? Bring a bottle of sparkling water and some fresh lemons with you to the party as an alternative. It still looks pretty in the glass, but has zero calories!

Tips for family gatherings:

1. Practice portion control. We all have our family traditions when it comes to holiday foods.  No one wants to miss out on grandma’s special that only comes around once a year!  You can enjoy all your favorite traditions, but keep it small.  Put very small portions (no bigger than would fit in the palm of your cupped hand) of everything on your plate, and resolve to have just one plate.

2. Eat slowly. After you’ve filled your plate with very small portions, eat very slowly.  Enjoy talking with everyone and take your time on your plate. When others are going back for seconds (or thirds), you will still have food on your plate to munch on.

3. Wait before seconds. If you do still feel hungry after your first plate of food, make yourself wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds. This gives your body time to digest the food you’ve already eaten.  You may feel that you don’t need seconds after all.

4. Drink plenty of water. Drink at least 8 oz of water before refilling your plate.  Drink at least 8 oz of water before getting dessert.  This will make you feel full, helping to keep you from over indulging.

5. Sample size your desserts. Most family gatherings have several desserts to choose from.  Make a sample plate that would equal one small serving total. Cut very small pieces of each (again no more than could fit in the palm of your cupped hand), so that you can sample them all without over indulging.

5. Put the food away. After you’ve all enjoyed a great meal together, put the food away.  Don’t leave it on the counter to graze on all day.

In all our holiday situations: Take the focus off the food.  Holiday gatherings are about friends and family. Make your focus on visiting and talking rather than eating.

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