Monday, December 10, 2012

Eight Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Indulging during the holidays is expected, but keep these tips in mind so the holidays don’t mark the start of a downward spiral into poor eating habits.

1. Weigh yourself
The holidays are not the time to avoid your scale. If you see the pounds creeping on, stop more weight gain as soon as you see it. Be proactive in avoiding holiday weight gain.

2. Write it down
Food journaling works best if you record your food and beverage intake as you go. Write down what, when, where and the quantity that you eat. Make sure to include all snacks and beverages even if you grab just one cracker on your way out the door.

3. Make time to exercise
Exercise helps you de-stress and clear your mind of all that you need to do this holiday season.

Walk the mall before you start shopping, take a new exercise class or practice some yoga or stretching to relax. If it’s too cold to exercise outside, treat yourself to some special cold weather workout gear. Working out in cooler weather can be invigorating, as long as you have the right clothes to stay comfortable.

4. Breathe
If you are a stress eater, consider an alternative to eating when you need a break. Just sitting silently with your eyes closed at any point during your day, or when you feel stressed, is very helpful for keeping yourself in balance. Remember, it doesn’t have to be for a long period of time: even just one minute of relaxing breaths in the midst of a busy holiday season goes a long way!

5. Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals often backfires. If you skip meals, you may overeat at the next meal, or let your hunger make bad food choices for you.

6. Learn How to Say “No, Thank You”
It’s hard to pass up goodies when they are offered. Not only are you turning down delicious foods, you may be worried that you are offending the host or hostess.

It’s okay to say no, but if you need a more creative way to say no, consider these:

  1. Thank you, but I already ate.
  2. That looks too good to eat!
  3. Thanks, but I'm getting a jump start on my New Year's resolutions!
  4. I worked out earlier, and I am trying to stay on track tonight.
  5. I'm trying to pace myself, but thank you!

7. Get enough rest
When you skimp on sleep, your body works harder to stay awake, and may lead you to make poor food choices. You might reach for another cup of coffee or a sugary snack to give you some energy. Or you might skip a stop at the gym because you are too tired. A lack of sleep can sabotage your efforts.

8. Watch the liquid calories
Holiday cocktails and wine with friends all add up to a lot of empty calories.

    One cup of eggnog – without liquor – has about 350 calories and 19 grams of fat.
    One cup of champagne has about 182 calories.
    One, 4-ounce serving of red wine has about 100 calories.

Of course, you can swap out healthier versions of classic favorites (light eggnog, for example), but alcohol can also loosen inhibitions, and lead to poor health choices. After a few drinks, you might be more likely to eat more, derailing your diet plans.

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