It’s that time of year again. Time to celebrate with our family and loved ones. Time reminiscing about the past, talking about the present and discussing our plans about the future. This is the season of giving and sharing, laughter and tears; joy and love, and seeing those you haven’t seen in a long time. It is also the season of weight gain.
Here, we will give tips on how to stay fit and healthy through the holiday season. Let’s start with food.
Holiday Eating Tips
• Bring food with you. If you are concerned about eating all the wrong things, you can take your food with you.
• Eat before you go. Before leaving the house or hotel, fill up on vegetables. Take vegetables, fruit and nuts to eat before the big meal. Filling up on healthy foods before the big meal, leaves less room for the unhealthy food you want to eat.
• Eat a little bit of everything. A lot of times we eat with our eyes or we think (unconsciously due to our upbringing) we must eat everything on our plate. To avoid over eating, place small amounts of food on a saucer to control your portion sizes.
• Eat more vegetables than anything else. Our plates should be filled with lots of vegetables and smaller portions of everything else. Eat all the vegetables first, again this leaves less room for other food we want to indulge in.
• Drink a lot of water. When we are full, there is less room for the foods we would indulge in.
• Eat slow. Eating fast allows us to take in too many calories. From the time we start eating, it takes 20 minutes for our brain to tell our body we are full. Slow down and you will become fuller sooner.
• Leftovers are a no, no. After eating, don’t go back for more food later. If you do, only eat veggies and protein (nothing fried). Don’t take leftovers home. If there are no leftovers to eat, it is easier to get back on track and keep the weight down. If you are the host, ask everyone to take as much food with them when they leave. If there is a lot of food left over, think about giving the food to a shelter.
These tips are not to prevent anyone from enjoying the foods they love, but eating them in moderation is key. We can eat our favorite food; we just have to eat them in smaller portions. The last option is to enjoy yourself and eat what you would like. Choosing this option means, one, we are not allowed to beat ourselves up the next day by telling ourselves, “I shouldn’t have eaten all that food”. One day isn’t going to get us off track as long as we don’t continue to eat the food (see #5). Second, don’t step on the scale the next day. The extra calories, sodium and sugar will cause weight gain
Holiday Fitness Tips
• Workout in the morning. There will be a lot of extra calories eaten during the holiday season. One way to help with weight gain (on Thanksgiving and Christmas days) is to workout in the morning or before leaving for the day. You want to burn more calories than you take in to control weight gain. According to WebMD.com, “…the average American consumes approximately 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat from eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And that doesn’t include breakfast, lunch, or late-night snacking on leftovers. Studies show that the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday season (Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, n.d.).” We may not burn 4,500 extra calories, but burning some calories is better than none at all.
• Walk after you get done eating. This is a great time for family and friends to go outside after eating, and go for a walk.
• We can take a workout with us. If we are visiting family and friends, go to YouTube and do a quick workout.
Staying fit and health during the holiday season is possible, if we are willing to make small changes.