The holiday season is a time of joy, giving, and eating. And eating. And eating the leftovers. Many a well-meaning individual has joined the buffet line at grandma’s house or “forgot” to pass the mashed potatoes only to find themselves a bit heavier and less happy come New Years. Rather than relying on the magical properties of the age-old New Years resolution try these 5 tips to avoid weight gain.
Pass the … Judgment on Portions
When you have a dazzling feast before you, it’s easy for your eyes to be bigger than your stomach. According to a study published in Obesity, participants who concentrated on portion control lost more weight than those who concentrated solely on planned exercise. So when you’re piling your plate, take care to pay attention to your portion sizes. Confused about correct portion sizing? Don’t feel bad, most people are. Fortunately websites like HEALTHeME offer easy to access and understand models for portion sizes based on common foods, and even a handy wallet-sized print-out that can help you make smarter portion choices.
Divide & Conquer
Most every holiday meal includes a barrage of deserts. It’s not usually just one cake, or one tray of cookies, but a seemingly endless line of sugary, fattening treats of great variety. You’ll never make it through the holidays dieting, as evidenced by a study conducted by Janet Polivy, a Toronto psychologist. In the study subjects, some dieters and some non-dieters, were allowed to consume as much ice cream as they wanted, but one group was given milkshakes prior to consuming the ice cream while another group was given nothing prior to the ice cream. Of the non-dieter group, the results were as you would expect, with those consuming a milk shake or two prior to the ice cream consuming less ice cream. The dieters, however, went on to consume more ice cream than non-dieters even after having a milkshake prior to. Polivy hypothesized this was because the dieters had accepted that they’d already blown their diet for that day, so why not eat! A big downfall of most people is that they become overwhelmed by the many choices and find themselves unable to decide on just one desert, so they grab a piece of each.
Jingle Bell Jog
Exercise is crucial to meaningful weight loss, bottom line. Think back to your last Holiday dinner: for most of us, there is a lot of sitting and talking or watching T.V. Be sure to indulge your metabolism with as much exercise as possible during the holidays, be it morning yoga or ice skating.
Kiss The Cook
If portion control fails and exercise just isn’t your thing, consider cooking some healthier alternatives to your favorite holiday dishes and drinks. For instance, drinking hot chocolate as opposed to egg nog can save you a whopping 230 calories. Instead of baked potatoes have red potatoes, or have ham instead of prime rib. Making these little changes can help you save calories without feeling like you’ve starved yourself.
And This Little Piggie Cried Wii!
On the note of exercising, it can be decidedly difficult to break away from family that you don’t necessarily get to see except during the holiday season. So why not include everyone in the fitness fun. There are now a variety of Wii games and other activities that can be played indoors that the whole family can enjoy, many of which get the sweat flowing without carrying the “But mom, I don’t wanna” stigma that accompanies exercise.
Don’t let the fun of the holidays fade into self-hatred in the New Year. By following these and other steps to weight loss, you can enjoy the holidays without the guilt.