How to avoid holiday weight gain

December 11, 2009 4:51:53 PM PST
Enjoy the holidays without having to wear your stretchy fat pants. Simple and effective strategies for avoiding holiday weight gain!

Tips featured in the segment:

  • Eat regular, healthy, tasty meals the day of your party: Don't be tempted to skip meals in preparation for a big event. Instead, carry on as you normally do so that you aren't ravenous and overeat on the first dish you see when you get in the door or put alcohol into an empty stomach.

  • Be active before the party: Exercise activates the whole nervous system and will keep you energized and alert so you won't have to depend on coffee to keep you buzzing from one party to the next.

    Rather than see exercise as a way to make up for eating or drinking more, see it as a way to continue the healthy habits you have and take the focus off of overindulging over the holidays.

  • Turn your dinner plate into a diagram: Whether you are eating family style or at a buffet, first fill half of your plate with vegetables. Then fill one quarter with the leanest meat you can find - preferably chicken or fish that has been baked or grilled.

    Then fill the other quarter with any starches - bread, potatoes, casseroles, pasta - that you want to sample. Eat the veggies first or alternate bites so you are eating more veggies and not just ignoring that half of the plate.

  • Beware of the food accessories: Lots of calories and fat get loaded on to your plate when you add butter, gravy, cream sauces, and whipped cream. It isn't that you shouldn't enjoy those things. You should. Instead, spoon or spread them on thoughtfully to enhance the flavor of your food not drown it.

  • Tune in to enough: Choose to eat the foods you love and let go of any obligatory bites. Savor what you are eating and slow down the whole process.

    There's no need to rush through a meal. If you catch yourself doing that, put down your fork, take a few breaths and remind yourself why you are at the gathering before you resume eating.

    Remind yourself you can always have more later or will be able to enjoy leftovers so you don't feel deprived. Sit next to your friends and family who are slower eaters (like the kids), ask questions and focus in on the answers, make the meal about more than getting in as much as you can.

  • Choose your appetizers wisely: If you are watching your caloric and fat intake, skip puffed, fried, frozen and refined flour appetizers. Choose plant-based and vegetable options (fruits, veggies, mushrooms), olives and lean proteins.

    Nuts and cheeses are good sources of fat and protein, but you don't want to overdo those, which is easy.

  • Brush your teeth to halt the urge to eat more: If you want to avoid dessert or have had your fill, simply slip away and brush your teeth. Luckily, travel brushes and toothpaste fit easily into fancy clutch purses.

    The minty taste won't go well with food or more drinks and will be a good alert to your senses that it is time to enjoy other aspects of the party.

  • Alternate water and alcohol: Sub in sparkly or still water between cocktails to keep yourself hydrated and full. Alcohol lowers your resistance and so you will nibble more over the course of the evening.

    Drinking water will also help prevent such nasty hangovers, and will reduce your caloric intake by 150-400 calories per drink.