Most of my life, I could count on gaining some weight during the Holidays. I seldom gained very much, but I never lost it! That is the problem with Holiday weight gain. While it’s not usually as much as most people believe it to be, we usually don’t lose it and it builds year after year into a major health crisis. There are Holidays year round and during a lifetime of weight struggles, I can assure you that these events play a major role in the overall bad health of Americans and possibly other nationalities. Here are some tips that I have learned through trial and error and many years of studying this phenomena.
1.Don’t have it in the house! I have experimented with filling my decorative candy dishes early in the season and right before the major Holiday. The years that I fill those dishes early and get in the festive mood, the more weight I gained. The sad thing is, not only I gained weight. Everyone in my home gained. Don’t do this to yourself or your loved ones. Obesity in children is an epidemic. Don’t add to their burden. Wait until the day before and let everyone enjoy. You can only do so much damage in one evening.
2. Don’t think you have to try every seasonal offering on the menu or in the grocery store. Truthfully, all of those Holiday flavors have been around before. You know how they taste. Choose one or two that you really like and plan a time to have those seasonal treats. Enjoy! Don’t start buying eggnog and fruit cake in October and stash it away until March. Six months of goodies will wreck you.
3. Wear form fitting clothes all the time. As comfy as sweat pants are, there’s way too much room in them. They give us the illusion that we are smaller than we are because they are loose and we have a false confidence that we can eat more. Again, I have actually experimented on myself with this theory. If you dress in loose clothing that hides your shape, you will almost certainly weigh more.
4. Plan your meals. Pretrack. Know exactly what you are going to eat as much as possible. Be constantly aware of your caloric intake and then if an unexpected treat makes an appearance, you will automatically know how much you can afford on your caloric budget. This strategy will keep you, instead of the season, in control.
5. Be aware of your protein intake. There is a bit of controversy concerning protein intake but if you’re healthy 0.6 grams/kilogram of body weight is accepted as safe by everyone. It’s shocking how many people do not eat this paltry amount. If you weight train, you probably need more. I eat about twice that. Protein keeps you satisfied and keeps cravings at bay. Eat protein at every meal and snack.
6. Avoid sugar. Yes, I said it and it can be done even in this season. Make up your mind and just do it. It causes cravings and exhaustion and can destroy your weight control plans. I use Splenda in things that I think need a little sweetness. I have tried for years to demonize artificial sweeteners but the evidence is just not there to do so.
7. Do your regular workouts! This is critical. This will not only burn excess calories, it will serve as a reminder of your health incentive.
8. Take an extra walk. Just go ahead and throw in a little extra activity to compensate for those stray BLT’s (Bites, Licks and Tastes) It really helps a lot.
9. If you do not normally weight train, this is a good time to start doing some body weight calesthenics like push-ups, jumping jacks and burpees. They will really turn up the burn!
10. Choose healthier options. In restaurants there are always healthier options. If you stick with a healthy entree’ then the shared dessert will be much easier to afford. When you carry food to various social functions, choose wisely. A fruit tray is a refreshing alternative to sugar laden cupcakes and it will give you something special to enjoy. Get the good fruit. Make it scrumptious and throw in some protein. Splurge and add cheese and /or nuts. I’ll bet you that your tray will be one of the first to go!
11. Avoid alcohol.
12. Make Hor D’Oeuvres your meal.
13.Enjoy people more than the food.
14.Freeze or toss left overs immediately. I also employ the Dawn Dishwashing tactic in an emergency. I squeeze Dawn all over the offending food and throw it in the garbage because chronic, compulsive, volume bingers have been known to retrieve food from the garbage after it has been “tossed” with forethought to keep it “clean” in the trash!
With a little planning you can not only avoid weight gain this Holiday season, you can make progress. Happy Holidays! ;-*