Getting through the holidays without packing on some extra pounds can be difficult to accomplish. But it doesn't have to be that hard. If you follow a few simple guidelines, you can make it through the holidays happier, but not heavier.
1. Eat Right…Most of the Time – Sticking to your diet or exercising all the time is next to impossible. Almost everyone slips up once in a while. The trick is not to give up if you do slip. Give yourself some leeway to allow for cheats and slip ups. As long as you eat healthy and stick to your diet at least 80% of the time, don't worry about going off the rails a little the other 20% of the time.
2. Have Some Treats! – I said SOME! It's ok to indulge a little. If you want a cookie, have a cookie. Just don't have ten cookies. Pick a few treats you want to have and turn down the rest. If they all look too good to pass up then adhere to the "3 bite rule." The 3 bite rule stipulates that you may not eat the entire dessert, but you may have 3 bites. 3 bites should be sufficient to taste the food, savor it, and let it linger. Everything after that just tastes like guilt and future regret.
3. Proper Hydration – Drink plenty of water this time of year. People tend to consume more alcohol around the holidays and eat lots of holiday foods packed with sodium. Both of these can leave you dehydrated so water is key. Plus water will fill you up some, so if you drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated, it might also help to curb excessive treat consumption.
4. Easy on the Alcohol – Alcoholic beverages are almost entirely empty calories, and lots of 'em! Your body metabolizes the alcohol into fat, which gets deposited in your liver and abdomen. A couple months of heavier than usual alcohol consumption can turn you heavier than usual in a hurry. It's easy to overdo it on the booze with all the time off from work and time spent with family. Just remember, everything in moderation.
5. Don't go to the Party Hungry – If you know you are going to a holiday party and you know the food is going to throw you off your diet, then don't go to the party….hungry. Eat a well balanced, well portioned meal before you go. You can still eat when you go to the party, but you are much less likely to over indulge if you satisfy your hunger before you arrive.
6. Eat Proper Portion Sizes – The holiday season is the one time of year when everyone wants to pile the food on their plate. Then you end up feeling bloated and stuffed; you're in pain and ashamed of yourself; but you still don't want to hurt Aunt Gail's feelings, so you eat a half dozen of her amazing holiday cookies even though you are already stuffed to the gills. Don't do that. Instead, eat a proper sized portion. To eat a proper sized portion grab a small plate, not a big one, and fill the plate with all the food you want to eat. You can eat all the food on your plate, but you can't have seconds. Then, if you want to have a couple of Aunt Gail's cookies you can. Maybe three. They're really good!
7. Stay Active – Around the holidays, a lot of time is spent sitting with family while chatting or watching TV. Don't let all that sitting around be the reason you gain weight again this holiday season. Find a way to get some exercise and stay active. The holidays are a busy time of year so exercising in the morning might be best, before your day gets too hectic. Find innovative ways to keep moving throughout the day, like losing the remote on purpose when company comes over. Then, you can offer to get up to change the channel all day since you were the one who "lost the remote."
8. Clean the House – Company is coming over, make this place spotless! Doing household chores will burn a lot of calories. While you're at it, you might as well decorate the place too! You want it to look festive when company arrives, don't you? Any chore or task you can think of to keep busy and keep moving, do it! 'Tis the season!
9. Choose the healthy dish – When you go to a holiday party, don't go right for the rum balls and desserts, choose a healthy dish. Choose to make that the majority of your meal so you fill up on the wholesome and nutritious parts and not so much on all the high calorie appetizers and desserts.
10. Just say no…to leftovers – When the party's over, there is always plenty of leftover food for everyone to take some home. When they offer you the leftovers, just say "no." Trust me. You always get sent home with way too many leftovers. The portions are gigantic. You might not eat it all the next day, but you will certainly eat it all over the next few days. Eating all that high calorie food day after day is sure to add a few pounds. So when it comes to leftovers, just say "no."