Top 5 Tips to Keep the Pounds Away During the Holidays
You can enjoy the holidays dinners, parties and time with friends and family this holiday without gaining weight. I have used these tips every holiday and so far have not gained weight. These are simple strategies that you easily do and incorporate without feeling deprived or missing out on the fun.
The average American will only gain one pound during the holidays. One pound may not sound like much but it is the weight that we gain over the holidays that is the hardest to lose. And, every year we make the same New Years resolution to lose weight. Won't it be nice to make a different resolution?
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, most people do not lose that weight 1-2 pounds gained annually quickly becomes that extra 10 pounds. It has also been shown that if you are already overweight, you will gain even more over the holidays; overweight people will gain on 5 pounds on average.
The Secret is To Not Gain the Weight in The First Place
What can you do to avoid those extra pounds? First, realize most weight gain is not due to eating too many calories. It is often the result of too much stress, environmental influences, and nutritional imbalances.
Some of the foods that most contribute to weight gain are snack foods, processed foods, and desserts that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. It is those “empty” carbohydrates that research now shows is one of the main causes of weight gain. So, it is not just about calories.
Reach for the more nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, lean meats, fish, poultry, fruit, nuts, and legumes. Try to avoid the complicated dishes like the infamous green bean casserole made with canned cream soup.
Stick with simpler preparation; green beans prepared with sautéed mushrooms and tossed in extra virgin oil. Instead of topping the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, top with pecans or other healthy nuts.
My Five Top Tips to Avoid Weight Gain!
My Buffet Strategy
- Always do a “recon” of the buffet table before loading up. Determine ahead of time what you will indulge with. Leave a small space on your plate for that and fill up with healthier choices. Otherwise, you start filling your plate and before you know it, you have no room for the good stuff like quinoa salad or kale salad.
Decorate Your Plate
- Decorate your plate with color from vegetables, cranberry sauce, and salads. Most of the calorie-laden foods are white, beige and brown like potatoes, turkey, gravy. Cauliflower is an exception, by the way! The more color on your plate, the more variety in nutrients. And, it will fill you up making that piece of pie not so tempting.
Limit Cookies and Snack Foods
- I learned a long time ago – cookies were not my friend. After gaining over 60 pounds eating a few too many cookies, I have pretty much, limited cookies to once or twice a year. They are high in not just sugar, but fat and in some cases, unhealthy fat. This is the combo for weight gain. Limit snack foods to nuts, olives, cheese, and vegetables. Save the indulges for dessert like pie during holiday dinners.
- Chronic stress eventually disrupts the hormones that help us to manage our weight like cortisol and insulin. For some of us, the holidays can be very stressful. Hosting parties, finding the right gifts and traveling can lead to chronic stress. Try saying no to a few parties, and take time to relax during the holidays reducing stress levels. Also, limit alcohol and caffeine – both of which we tend to depend on when we are stressed only making things worse.
Choose Better Options
- If you have more than one option like pumpkin pie or pecan – than the better option is pumpkin pie. Obviously, Aunt Linda's pecan pie she makes once a year might just be that one of your indulgences.
- If you drink alcohol then choose the lower-calorie options like white or red wine over sugary mixed drinks.
- Other options are:
- Mashed Cauliflower over Mashed Potatoes
- Steamed Vegetables over Vegetable Casserole
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts over Green Bean Casserole
- Roasted Beets over Sweet Potato Casserole
But most importantly enjoy the best part of the holidays; a time to celebrate and gather with family and friends. Let the focus of your holiday be about friendship, love and the enjoyment of the winter season and less about food. You will be pleasantly surprised come January that you won’t be promising yourself the same old new years’ resolution to lose those pesky holiday pounds. Maybe you might be a more fun resolution this year like playing more tennis or promising yourself that you will go on a fabluous vacation. Cheers!