The holidays are upon us, and while that means a wealth of joy, goodwill, and ample time to spend with friends and family, it also means something else – lots of food!
There will be holiday cookies, Christmas hams, buttery side dishes, and numerous pies. So what can you do to help keep your body clean and healthy this holiday season? Here are ten little things you can do to help minimize the holiday weight gain.
1. Keep a list of what you eat
You’re sure to have plenty of holiday parties that will be filled with munchies and treats. Instead of just grazing the buffet table at your office party and neglecting to keep in mind what you’ve already eaten, keep a small pad of paper and pen with you at all times and write down everything you eat. It may be a pain to keep this list, but it will help to put your eating habits in perspective.
2. Don’t neglect your workout schedule
There are plenty of things you can do in the cold weather to work off those calories. Don’t use the cold weather and holiday parties as an excuse to slack off on exercising. At the very least, be sure to do plenty of walking and other cardio exercises.
3. Don’t put off healthy eating until after New Year’s
Many of us are tempted to use dieting and exercise as New Year’s resolutions, but that’s ridiculous! If you start watching what you eat and exercising now, then you won’t have as much weight to get rid of on New Year’s Day.
4. Drink tons of water
Drinking water means having a full feeling, so you won’t be tempted to eat nearly as much. Drink clean, purified water if possible. Along with water, adding more high fiber foods to your diet will also help you feel fuller, therefore, eating less overall.
5. Keep a healthy snack stash nearby
Whether you keep it in your desk, purse or car, if you have a healthy snack option with you at all times, you can forgo the unhealthy treats and indulge in your healthy snack stash. Raw nuts and raw seeds are great snacks that are packed with nutrients!
6. Balance the Unhealthy Foods with the Healthy Foods
Try to eat an 80-20 ratio of healthy foods versus unhealthy foods. It’s silly to expect you to completely abstain from those delicious holiday goodies, so instead, allow them to be treats that can supplement your healthy diet. Keep yourself on a tight leash and try not to binge on all the delicious goodies. For an added bonus, consume more foods that speed up your metabolism.
7. Don’t wear loose, bulky clothing
It may sound silly, but wear clothes that fit. If you can, wear an elastic-type undergarment under your clothes or a tight belt. The tight feeling will keep you from eating too much and over-indulging.
8. Eat slowly
It takes your stomach about twenty minutes to tell your brain that it’s full. By eating slowly, you’ll know when you’re full sooner and be able to stop eating. We all know that awful, I-ate-too-much feeling that comes during the holidays; this is a great way to avoid it.
9. Use a smaller plate
This is another silly suggestion that works. Don’t heap large portions of food on a large plate. By getting small portions and using a smaller plate, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to go back for seconds if you truly didn’t get enough. And in the meantime, you’re giving yourself the chance to really feel how full you are off of just that one small plate of food.
10. Eat before going to holiday parties
If you go to parties hungry, you’re more likely to head straight for the food tables and stick there all night. If you eat a snack before you go to a party, you’ll be able to better maintain your food discipline when it comes to all those tasty temptations.
These are just ten ways to ward off that holiday ten! Good luck and happy holidays!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
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