Halloween marks the start of the holiday season, and we all know what that means…candy, cookies, pie, and alcoholic beverages galore! Studies have shown that the average holiday weight gain for Americans is only one pound. Not too bad right? But there is a down side. That one little pound usually does not come off when the holidays end. Add that to the other 1 to 2 pounds gained on average every year just by getting older, and you will be well on your way to obesity if you are not careful. Holiday weight gain has a bigger impact on your health and well being than you realize. Why not make your New Year’s resolution now so you don’t have to work too hard come January?
Here are some nutrition tips to keep you healthy through the New Year.
Prepare healthier options:
This especially works if you are the one hosting a gathering. There are always ways to tweak traditional recipes to make them more health conscious, or you can go a non-traditional route with something totally healthy and unique. Guests will most likely be excited by the new experience and grateful to you for not adding to their own personal holiday food battle.
Here are some links to some of my favorite healthy holiday recipes:Traditional holiday favs
Control calorie intake:
The calorie intake recommended for a normal sized person is about 2000 calories per day. That is 14000 calories per week (keep in mind this count is different for everyone and depends on weight, metabolism, and level of activity). If you know you will overindulge over the weekend keep the calorie count really low throughout the week in preparation. As long as the weekly calorie intake stays under your pre determined level your body should stay balanced. If you exercise frequently you are more likely to keep the metabolism high and bounce back after an indulgent weekend. Also, keep the portions small. Check out this website if you have questions about serving sizes:
Finally, try not to go for a second helping. Let yourself sit for 10 to 15 minutes before you decide to go back for seconds. You body needs time to notice how full it really is, so you may not even want more if you wait it out.
Keep a food journal:
It is easy to get eaters amnesia around the holidays. We let that extra sliver of pie slip out of mind as soon as it is consumed, but all those "little" nibbles add to your calorie count. Try making a list of everything you eat, even if it is just for a week. Be very honest! If you lie in your food journal you are only hurting yourself! When you see your list on paper it may be a wakeup call and encouragement to think twice the next time you opt for something unhealthy.
For the big events you know what foods will show up on the table. You know what foods you love, and you know what foods you can do without. Plan ahead by deciding what you will indulge in and what you will leave alone. For example, I know I love my mom’s stuffing on Thanksgiving, but the mashed potatoes and gravy are not my favorite. I will allow myself to enjoy the stuffing, but I won’t eat the potatoes even if it is part of the tradition. This helps with drinking too. When going to a party, decide on the number of drinks you will have before you go. Then stick to it!
Practice self control:
You may be thinking, “Yeah, Meghan, easier said than done.” But I am here to tell you that it is easier than you think! We all have this moment in which we think "should I go for another chocolate chip cookie?" and it only takes a split second to decide yes or no. Its VERY simple- just say NO and move on with your life! Once you have made the decision let it go and don't turn back. I promise you will feel like a stronger, more capable human being, and that feeling outweighs the enjoyment of one more silly cookie. If you need help with self control give meditation a try (see last week’s blog post).
Do you have other tips that you would like to share? I would love to hear about them!