The holiday season is here again and you’re sure to be sharing delicious food with friends and family over the festive season. But does that mean you will have to face January 10 pounds heavier?
According to researchers from the National Institutes of Health, people gain an average of one pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Although the weight increase isn’t as dramatic as some might expect, it is still important to be calorie conscious over the holiday season since most individuals do not reverse their gains during the following months.
Obesity experts speculate that over time the small weight gain from the holidays may accumulate and contribute to other, more substantial gains such as cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.
So how do you enjoy the season’s festivities and still be in control of your weight without bowing out of every party?
Enjoy, but do so moderately.
Eating can often get out of control when food restrictions are too strict. Enjoy the variety of foods the season brings, but try not to overindulge by sticking to those traditional favorites you would only get during the holidays. Give yourself permission to taste a small portion and don’t waste calories on other foods that are around all the time such as chips, crackers and chocolates.
Do not sacrifice exercise.
Holiday ‘to do’ lists get longer and eventually exercise gets bumped for yet another social engagement. No matter how overbooked your holiday calendar becomes, do not sacrifice exercise!
If there is one saving grace over the holiday season, it’s exercise. Adding just an extra 10 minutes to your workout routine can help compensate for your culinary indulgences. Sneaking in a little extra physical activity will also help you benefit from the stress-reducing effects of exercise (and we could all use a little less stress over the holidays!)
Be mindful of liquid calories.
Many partygoers often skip foods and instead opt for the “spirits” of the season, hoping to save calories. Be aware that alcohol can actually stimulate your appetite and loosen your inhibitions, making it much more difficult for you to stick to healthy intentions.
– Most spirits have 60 to 70 calories per ounce. Keep calories on the lighter side by choosing a “non-calorie” mixer such as diet soda, club soda or sparkling water (instead of juice and regular soda).
– Lower wine calories and control the amount of alcohol you drink by making a spritzer of soda water and wine.
– Choose the lighter version of eggnog that supplies half the 325-plus calories of premium eggnog, per 8-ounce glass.
– Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcohol, e.g., sparkling water, a virgin Caesar (plain tomato or V8 juice), diet soda or fruit juice mixed with club soda.