Since eating — or rather, not overeating — is such a hot topic for many of us, especially this time of year, we’ve decided to provide two related yet very different approaches to the subject. We hope you enjoy both perspectives:
10 Tips for Enjoying Holiday Feasts Without Packing on the Pounds
The official start of the holidays is mere days away. So be honest — are you considering pulling your biggest jeans out of the closet in order to accommodate that “winter weight”? You know, the extra pounds that have a tendency to materialize and linger throughout the season while you hide under layers and sweaters, pretending not to notice?
If you’re like many women, the joy of the holiday season may be accompanied by the fear of the feasts: office parties, dinners with friends, and gatherings with family. There’s Grandma Jean’s banana nut bread, Aunt Martha’s Thanksgiving carbfest, and your best friend’s signature hot cheese dip. And every day at the office becomes food day, as platefuls of cookies, handmade chocolates, and tempting confectionary delights arrive delicately wrapped in colorful foil.
Health experts claim you can’t gain weight by looking at food, but at the holidays you know they’re dead wrong!
So — has the annual holiday weight gain become a tradition you’d prefer to skip this year? The good news is that it CAN be done!
Here’s some simple advice that is guaranteed to help you stay merry throughout the season without developing a Santa-size waistline:
1. Bottoms up!
Unfortunately, this isn’t a recommendation to guzzle as many sugary cocktails as possible. It’s a reminder that water (or other low-calorie beverages) can be your most trusted ally at social gatherings. Having a glass in your hand as you chat and nibble will help curb your urge to overindulge in food and goodies. Plus, staying properly hydrated is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle.
2. Don’t go in on an empty stomach.
How many times have you fasted all day long in anticipation of splurging at an evening event? And then, by the time you get to the party, you’re so ravenous that you’re ready to tear your own arm off and feast on it. This is a rookie mistake and a surefire recipe for disaster. A better (and more comfortable) tactic is to eat as you normally would throughout the day — that way you’re not in “starvation mode,” and you’ll be much less likely to eat everything in sight at the party.
3. Get your head in the game.
Eating right starts with having the right mind-set. Envisioning yourself at your ultimate goal really can help you make smarter choices when it comes to those holiday feasts. You don’t have to deprive yourself completely — just remind yourself of your goal and what you need to do to stay on track.
4. Harness your holiday stress.
Even if you’re nowhere near done with your shopping and you have 547 social commitments that you just don’t know how you’re going to cram in, take a few seconds to take a nice, deep breath. And remember that overindulging at the Thanksgiving feast (and the day after ... and the day after that) is not going to magically make all of your other responsibilities vanish into thin air.
5. A little self-control never hurts.
After you’ve made peace with your dreaded and often-feared nemesis (aka food), it’s important to remember that moderation is key during this tempting time of year. Having a cookie and a slice of pie won’t kill you, but you might want to think twice before you load up on second (and third, and fourth) helpings of each. Ultimately, you’ll be glad you did!
6. Think islands, not mountains.
Dilemma: the holiday buffet is spread before you with no fewer than 20 tantalizing dishes ... and you want to try them all! When serving yourself, think in terms of “islands” — not mountains. If you can’t see your plate after you’ve served yourself, you’re probably going to overindulge. So, instead of stacking your plate a mile high, take small servings. You’re sure to be satisfied instead of stuffed!
7. Small bits of effort can really add up.
It’s the little things, like putting down your fork once you feel satisfied, that will make a bigger difference than you may initially realize. Note the use of the word “satisfied” — not “roll-me-out-the-door full.” When striving for a svelte physique or in hoping to maintain the one you already have, every little bit counts!
8. Indulge in some “me” time every day — and leave food out of it!
“But I don’t have time for that!” Yes, you do. Whether you like to read, call a friend, take your dog for a walk, or luxuriate in a warm bubble bath, do what makes you happy — even if it’s just for a few precious minutes a day. With this newfound relaxation will come a sense of self-control that will make facing those holiday feasts that much easier.
9. Stay active.
Even though exercise is probably the last thing on your mind during the holiday season, it’s important to break a sweat doing something physical. Think you don’t have time? Poppycock! Small efforts add up. Walk the steps at work. Search for the parking spaces that are farthest from the store. Do a few sit-ups before makeup in the morning. Walk the dog around the block two times instead of one. Make a game of it — see how many little ways you can add more motion to your days.
10. Put on a happy face.
We're sorry, but the comment box for this article has been closed. However, you may view the past discussion amongst your peers to see what they had to say ...
Healthy lifestyles aren’t just physically healthy — they’re mentally and spiritually sound, too! Remember that holiday gatherings are about spending time with the ones you love. Staying positive in light of a challenge (in this case, the never-ending spread of delicious food before you) can help you feel confident enough to make choices that are right for you.