I just read that the the average amount of weight gained from Halloween to New Years day is 15 pounds! Let’s make sure that does not happen to us this year by starting with a plan. We will take charge of ourselves and not be duped into all the unhealthy traditions. We don’t have to bake cookies every week, make five pies for Thanksgiving, drink eggnog at every party. This is the year our New Year’s resolution will be something other than to lose those 15 pounds! We vow to still enjoy plenty of holiday traditions. Say yes to hot tea and walking around looking at Christmas lights; say no to cookies and hot chocolate. Here are easy ways to keep the weight from piling on this holiday season. We will be proud of ourselves as we take down our Christmas tree this year, that we weigh the exact same as we do today, maybe even less!
So how do we enjoy the holiday cheer in a more healthy way?
- Weigh ourselves. Let’s not be in denial. Every morning, between taking off our pajamas and getting dressed for the day, step on the scale.
- Exercise. I know you did’t want me to say it, but it has to be said. Choose whatever exercise is fun for you. I enjoy walking. I am going to try to get 10,000 steps in at least 5 days a week during November and December. Whether I’m Christmas shopping at the mall and doing a few extra laps, or walking around neighborhoods to see decorations, I’m going to try to fit this into my day. If I walk in the beginning of the day, it helps me feel like making healthier eating choices; if I walk after dinner, it breaks the eating/watching TV zone I sometimes find myself in. What’s your favorite? Yoga? Treadmill? Jumping rope? Even 15 minutes makes you feel more in control. Take a few flights of stairs, whatever. Just do something.
- Be choosy. Some treats are undeniable and a once a year indulgence. So let’s be reasonable about it. Make a conscious decision to have that peppermint latte but make it a small size (you can always have another one another day if it was worth the splurge). Pay attention to when it loses its pizazz . Usually, after a few bites, it’s past the peak of flavor on our taste buds. Stop when you hit that line, telling yourself you can have a little more another day if you still want it.
- You can’t have it all. Practice willpower; say no to mediocre things and only say yes when it’s worthy. You don’t need to eat dessert following a dinner, you are full! Also, it’s ok to be a little hungry. Practice waiting a few minutes to eat after hunger first hits. Work your way up to waiting an hour. I’m just talking about belly hunger, not the irritable, light-headed hunger (feed that beast right away).
- Make a plan. In that hour we are waiting to feed our hunger, let’s think about what we will eat. It would be even better to plan our week in advance but during these two months plans change and meals are not always in our control. We will do our best.
- Forget about the doggy bag. Do not take leftovers of indulgent foods. Likewise, if we are hosting a party, we will send leftovers home with whomever will take them. We don’t want the temptation around tomorrow.
- Find our willpower. Let’s figure out what our motivation is and be ready to use it when we are alone with our kids trick or treat candy bag or a co workers cookies in the break room. For me, it is my A1C count. (too much sugar hanging onto my red blood cells). I picture my red blood cells without sugar hanging onto them. This makes me want to keep them clean and clear! Picture your waist shrinking, or think about how sluggish you will feel if you dig in. What’s your willpower trigger?
- Fill up on watery foods. Fruits and vegetables will fill us up, hydrate us, and are fibrous. Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwi, cantaloupe, apples, cucumber, lettuce, asparagus etc, sound great when I have been eating more salt than usual.
- Drink tea – hot or iced, tea is a good substitute for seasonal coffee shop drinks that are filled with sugar and calories. A good flavored tea such as peppermint or chamomile, will put us in a festive mood and keep us hydrated. We will not miss out on stopping for coffee with friends. If we want coffee, we drink it with just a splash of half and half, either decaf or regular, or black if you like.
- Slow down – when we are rushing to the school christmas pageant or grabbing last-minute stocking stuffers, it’s easy to wolf down our food. let’s try to slow down meals and snacks, so we eat less and enjoy it more. We owe it to ourselves to be good to us!
Let’s all close our eyes, take a deep breath, hold it, and release all the stress from our shoulders and jaw area. Repeat. Now we are more prepared to make wise food decisions and feel in control. Picture yourself succeeding and having willpower!