Make Memories Not Pounds! 12 tips to Stay Lean, Joyful, and Grateful These Holidays

Holidays are filled with tons of parties and social events. We may use these events as an excuse to splurge without realizing that we can actually have a food hangover and then it takes the joy out of the holidays. This holiday focus on family, friends and showing gratitude.

1. Get Your ZZZZ’s

Rest up the night before a holiday fête by getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can add 300 extra calories to your day and we tend to choose higher-fat, higher-calorie foods. By getting your zzzs, you’ll save calories and make healthier choices. Don’t be a couch potato!

2. Move Before Munching

This is a great time of year to take advantage of the great outdoors.  Hiking, walking, sledding, cross country skiing, snow angels, snowmen, etc are all great seasonal activities.  Don’t let the colder temps hold you back from being active; its all the more important if you will be partaking in Holiday parties!

If you are not an cold weather person-treat yourself to a new fitness dvd and make it a regular part of your day or start your morning with yoga (sun salutation) and be thankful. Get family and friends involved for a holiday themed workout.  For example: take a Turkey Trot or Christmas Day Cardio!

3. Plan Ahead, Don’t Go Hungry

It’s so easy to overdo it when we are hungry and walk into a dining room and are faced with large amounts of delicious food!  It’s kind of like grocery shopping when you are hungry-you end up buying a lot more of the foods you probably wouldn’t have purchased had you not been hungry!  To prevent this-try timing your meals in such a way that you have a small healthy snack prior to arriving to a party or prior to entertaining.  This will help you focus more on friends and family and less on your hunger.

4. Drink your H2O

Another great idea is to drink your water!   We recommend at least 64 oz of fluid/day for hydration or drink half your body weight in ounces (For example if you weigh 140 lbs , divide by 2 which is 70 lb or 70 ounces of water /day).  However, another great benefit of drinking all your water is an increased satiety or fullness. Water intake will help stave off hunger and “hold you over.”  Plan on drinking a 16oz bottle of water during the hour before you will be eating.  This will help you feel more satisfied on less food! Sometimes we confuse thirst for hunger!

5. Take a healthy dish to share

Everyone loves Holiday parties!  When friends and family extend the invite, accept it graciously, but let them know you are watching what you’re eating.  This is perfectly acceptable to do-you would tell them if you had a food allergy right?  If they are concerned that their menu doesn’t fit your needs-offer to bring a dish or two to share. This way you’re in charge of the menu and can pack your favorite health friendly dish to help you stay on Plan and still get to party!

6. Avoid Portion Distortion

Also, always opt for the salad plates.  While this can be more of a mind trick than anything else-filling up a smaller plate vs putting very small amounts on a larger plate can be very satisfying-mentally.  Ask for a salad plate if they are not readily provided.  If smaller plates are not available-hold the large plate in your hand and fold your thumb over the edge –hold the plate like this while you are making your selections and don’t let your food pass the tip of your thumb at any point on the plate (think of an imaginary line running from the point of your thumb around the plate).

Follow the 3 tablespoons policy, 3 bites of your indulgent food. That way, you get what you want without hurting yourself. Sometimes we just need the taste and we are satisfied.

7. Chew and Slow down

It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal that you’ve had enough. Eating foods high in unhealthy fats and sugars can also change gut bacteria, disrupting the brain’s ability to signal fullness. What you eat and how fast you eat matters if you want to feel satisfied and in tune with your body. Chewing your food releases enzymes in your mouth that help start the digestive process and plus it enhances the taste of the food and you would likely eat less.

8. Choose Wisely

It always wise to start with appetizers that have vegetables. Choose vegetables and hummus over chips and dips. Vegetables with the added fiber will fill your stomach and make you less hungry.

9. Pour wisely

Alcohol could be an obstacle to healthy eating. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram more than protein calories. Sometimes we tend to indulge during the holidays. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and you are more likely to eat more or get a second helping of that desert. There are certainly some better options than others if you choose to drink, choose wine, champagne or some type of liquor (ex: vodka, tequila etc) combined with club soda. These drinks are way lower in calories than if you choose cocktails, beer, cider, eggnog which can be loaded with sugar.

10. Focus on Family & Friends-Not food

It’s very easy for food to become the focus at social gatherings-especially the Holidays.  Cookies, stuffing, Eggnog, fruit cake, cocktails, etc.  But this season try to move your focus to your friends and family.  Instead of grabbing a handful of cookies, sit and share holiday stories with a child or visit with a family member on a next to the fire.  Make memories not pounds!

11. Stay Equipped

It’s always great to have a great support system for the holidays whether they are your friends, family or your Dietitian. Let them know what your goals are for the holidays and how they can support you.

IF you have sugar cravings, keep some L-Glutamine handy (amino acid that can help with sugar cravings). When you feel a craving coming on, open one up and pour the powder on your tongue.

12. Create a “Stop Doing List”

Holiday time can be stressful! We have shopping, social events, work, children etc…. Don’t forget to have some “me time”. It’s always helpful to also delegate and share responsibilities. Sometimes its “OK” to say “NO”. Let this holiday be stress free!

I am grateful and thankful that you are choosing to read this post!

CLICK HERE TO RECEIVE A FREE HEALTHY RECIPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Happy Thanksgiving
dietitian-kamalini