Friday, November 18, 2011

How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

Did you know that the average Thanksgiving meal clocks in around 2,500 calories at the least?


For many of you, that's probably way more than you need in a single day. That Thanksgiving meal,'s good. (Quite frankly, it's one of my favorites.) And it kicks off a season of eating. We go from turkey on the table to appetizers at various holiday parties, to Christmas dinner and then New Year's Eve. Peppered in there are cocktails and cookies aplenty. This time of year is fun, indeed. But we all tend to loath it for the challenges it presents to our waistlines.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I figured some of you might be commencing holiday travels this weekend. Perhaps now is the right time to discuss the prevention of holiday weight gain. It's totally possible, this I promise you.

How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

1) Pack your fitness gear.
When you travel to distant places in search of family, you leave your gym and your routine behind. But you don't have to leave your gear behind. Bring the shoes and your favorite gym outfit. Pack the iPod. If you lug it all with you, will you really let it sit in the bag all week/weekend? Sneak in a run, or maybe just a walk. Things get crazy when the family gets together, but there shouldn't be anything wrong with you sneaking out for some cardio. Or a class at the local YMCA. Do what you can, when you can. And see if anyone wants to join you.

2) Offer to bring a dish.
Or two, depending on your free time. Doing so assures you that at least one thing on the table is made to be healthy. And if you're in charge of the cooking, spend some time online. There are an overabundance of recipes out there that make traditional, high-calorie dishes and desserts a bit healthier without depleting the flavors we've come to know and love.

3) Drink wisely.
Not all liquids are calorie-free, especially when alcohol is involved. Sure, have one. Then sip some water for a bit before you have another. You might actually forget you even wanted another.

4) Plate your appetizers.
Never, ever pick at the pretty little snacks sitting in front of you. Grab a little plate and fill it with what you need to "hold you over" until the main course is complete. And don't let yourself sit at the table in the kitchen where all the appetizers are placed. You get to talkin', you forget how many of this or that you just ate and before you know it—you just ate a meal. And then dinner is served. So plate your appetizers and walk away.

5) Exercise portion control and moderation when filling your plate.
Just because the table is filled to the edges with food...well, that doesn't mean your plate has to be. Holiday meals, while special, are still just meals. So don't let your eyes and your holiday spirit take over your good judgement. And don't skip other meals to "save up" for that one big meal. You'll be starving by the time that one big meal is ready, and our good judgement is powerless in the presence of starvation.

6) Go ahead, cheat.
Wait. What? Yeah, I said it. But cheat wisely. If you don't normally eat a ton of sweets, but you love...LOVE those cookies that Grandma always makes—then eat one. Otherwise you'll spend the entire night drooling over them and hating anyone that eats them without abandon. Eat one, then move on. Faced with a plate full of cookies you love? Depending on the cookies, you might be able to get away with having more than one. But again, cheat wisely. Then walk away. When you make smart choices like that, some might not even call it cheating.

7) Plan accordingly when cooking—and when taking leftovers.
If you're the cook, don't cook too much. You won't have to stock high-calorie dishes and treats long after the party is over. You'll just eat it, right? And since this is Holiday season, you'll just eat more of the same at all those other parties you have to attend. So plan accordingly. And if you're a guest and the host is offering you leftovers, do the same. Just take a little bit of your favorite dish or dessert, maybe enough for just a day or two. Again, you'll have more parties (and consequently more good eatin') ahead of you.

8) Remember that tomorrow is a new day.
So you ate bad yesterday. You're human, it happens. Get over it quickly and get right back into your patterns of healthy eating. Giving up another day in the name of yesterday will set you down a path of diet destruction.

Question: How do you prevent holiday weight gain?

1 comment:

Erin said...

Really great article Tara!

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