It’s hard to believe that the holidays are upon us – a celebratory time of year that thankfully revolves around family, friends, and traditions. Socializing and spending time with the people we enjoy is wonderful for our health. Unfortunately, the numerous cocktail parties, company festivities, and family get-togethers often lead to overindulgence and weight gain. Typically, people put on 1-3 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, a seemingly harmless amount of additional weight, but for the fact that most of us never lose it. Continuing down this path will lead to an extra 10-30 pounds over just one decade. Fortunately, by making small adjustments and smart choices, you can avoid this unhealthy trend.
Here are eight simple steps to follow to ensure you wake up on January 1st wearing the same size clothes and a big smile.
You can eliminate 100-400 calories a day by making simple substitutions:
Schedule 30 minutes of vigorous exercise into your calendar five days a week. If necessary, shorten your workouts but intensify them. Pick up your pace if walking or biking, play singles, not doubles in tennis, or increase the incline on the treadmill to simulate hills when running. Also, take the stairs whenever possible and use a headset when on the phone so you can pace while talking.
Adequate water consumption keeps your metabolism operating at its peak and staves off cravings. We often mistake thirst for hunger, which leads to extra calories and additional pounds. For every pound of body weight, drink ½ an ounce of water each day, more if you’re exercising vigorously.
Instead, stock up on true holiday goodies like Clementines, pomegranates, pistachios, walnuts, and cinnamon-spice tea. Place traditional temptations (cookies, candies, sugary nuts, and fudge) far back in the pantry or in the freezer and pull them out only on special occasions. If you leave them in plain sight, you’ll nibble on them often.
Hors d’oeuvres that are brown usually mean they’ve been fried and pack approximately 100 calories per piece; the same is true with cheese and crackers. Instead, choose brightly colored appetizers like fruits, veggies, and shrimp.
We tend to eat twice as much at a buffet than if the meal was served to us. Here’s how to enjoy a beautiful spread without sabotaging your waistline.
Alcohol has calories, and mixing it with juice, tonic, soda, or cream will add even more. Avoid sweet drinks such as eggnog altogether. Eight ounces of this holiday treat, rum included, contains 400 plus calories and 20 grams of fat. Limit your alcohol consumption to one or two 5-oz servings of wine, alternating your drink with a glass of sparkling water. The carbonation tricks your body into feeling full. Need another reason to volunteer to be the designated driver? Alcohol stimulates your appetite and will make enjoying moderate amounts of holiday fare even more difficult.
Take these opportunities to catch up with family and friends and engage in wonderful conversation away from the buffet table. It’s calorie-free!
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