‘Tis the season for cookies, cocktails and fatty foods. While packing on the pounds may seem unavoidable, there actually are ways to indulge and keep calories in check at the same time. It may be common sense to avoid hors d’oeuvres, but there are a few other tips and tricks you may not have thought of. Here are 5 ways to avoid weight gain this holiday season.
Eat healthy beforehand. If you’re going to a party, be sure to eat light, healthy meals throughout the day, ahead of the soiree. Stay hydrated, fill up on vegetables and almonds, and steer clear of junk foods the days just before and after. Remember, it’s all about balance, so if you watch your caloric intake before and after the party, you won’t have to be preoccupied with guilt when you’re supposed to be having fun.
Make it a point to exercise. Don’t wait until after the damage is done to try to lose weight. It’s smarter (and easier) to maintain than to lose. If you already have a fitness regimen, you may want to work out a little longer to give yourself some calorie wiggle room throughout the season.
Pick one: bread, alcohol or dessert. If you’re disciplined enough, force yourself to choose one of these diet sabotagers instead of indulging blindly in all three. You may even be mindlessly eating the bread, pasta, and crackers in front of you without even thinking about whether they even taste good! And we all know, not all Christmas cookies are created equal! Don’t mindlessly munch: Give into your cravings when the treats are totally worth it and maybe even something you can only get this time of year. As for the alcohol, remember that it metabolizes as sugar, so try to avoid sugary mixers (which can also increase your odds of waking up with a hangover).
Enjoy everything in moderation. If you simply can’t choose, try it all…in small amounts! If you don’t trust yourself, grab a dessert plate and fill it with all of your favorite fixings instead of a full-sized dinner plate. Your stomach will tell you your full long after you’ve actually had enough, so you’re not only saving yourself weight gain, but possible digestive discomfort (Um, where’s the restroom?!).
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you have a bad hour, bad day, or even bad week, don’t take it to the next level and allow yourself a bad month. There’s always time to get back on the wagon. The sooner you can get back on track the better. It’s true that there are temptations hanging around from Halloween through New Year’s Eve, but that doesn’t mean you should take a three-month break from healthy living. Allow yourself specific dates and events to completely indulge every craving if need be, but stay active and fuel your body with nutritious foods the remainder of the season. And remember that it’s not just about your weight, but for the sake of healthy skin and a strong immune system as well.