The holiday season is fast approaching and everybody is looking forward to spending time with their families and friends, exchanging gifts, rejoicing in their fortunes and, best of all, eating delicious holiday fare. Unfortunately, all good things come with the price. One of the biggest drawbacks of the holidays is that most people experience some weight gain during this time. Popular belief holds that an average person gains anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds during the holidays. However, the studies conducted by the National Institute of Health have shown that, on average, people gain around 1 to 2 pounds during this period. While you might think that 1-2 pounds weight gain does not amount to much, the real problem is that these pounds stick- for ever. Over the years, the gradual weight gain might translate into real problems such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and such. However, with some discipline and determination, you can enjoy all the parties without sacrificing your figure. All you have to do is follow these 5 easy rules.
- Exercise portion control. The easiest way to do so is to visualize your plate (go for a smaller plate if possible). Divide the plate into 2 halves and fill one half with salad and other vegetables (preferably steamed), avoid fatty sauces and go for oil-and-vinegar based dressings. Divide the remaining half of the plate into two parts and fill one part with proteins such as lean meats, fish, and beans; fill the remaining part with something starchy.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Drinking alcohol during parties not only adds up to your calorie intake, but also lowers your inhibitions and makes you forgo all the promises you made to yourself. Also, make better choice of beverages- go for a light beer or wine instead of eggnog and limit yourself to 1-2 drinks. Accompany each drink with a glass of water to avoid drinking too much alcohol.
- Have a snack before the party. It is best to have a light healthy snack such as piece of fruit (banana, green apple, etc) or yogurt with granola before heading to the party where you will be tempted with all the delicious food. This tactic allows you to have better control over your cravings and make wiser food choices.
- Do not fall into all-or-nothing mentality. If you could not resist eating some sumptuous fried appetizer or went for an extra piece of chocolate cake, do not despair and say to yourself, “Oh well, I blew it already so might as well go for it!” It is OK to indulge a little, the key word being “little.” If you still ended up eating a bit too much, undo the damage the next day. One of the most effective ways to do so is to limit yourself to a glass of kefir every 2 hours during the whole day. This will stabilize your stomach and prevent any weight gain from previous night.
- Socialize as much as possible. Instead of zeroing in on the food during the party, take a chance to reconnect with your friends and family- talk, laugh and, best of all, dance. After all, that’s what the holidays are all about!