‘Tis the season to be jolly–and to gain weight. You spend all year working out and eating right, just for the holiday sauce to come and smother your plan with fat. Don’t let those Santa cookies and powerful punch turn your hard work into the ghost of Christmas past! Use these tips to maintain your healthy diet and stay active through this time of temptation. Let’s begin!
Most holidays are associated with certain foods. Christmas at your house might not be the same without your aunt’s green been casserole, but that doesn’t mean food has to be the main focus. Instead, throw yourself into the other rituals a holiday brings, whether it’s caroling or tree trimming. Focus on the fun and family, not the food. Drink lots of water so you won’t feel as hungry and will be more energized each day.
Skip the store-bought cookies at Christmas, but do save some calories in your ‘budget’ to sample treats that are homemade and special to your family, such as your special Yule log cake. Training yourself what to indulge in and what to skip is much like budgeting your mad money: Do you want to blow it on garbage that you can buy anywhere or on a very special, one-of-a-kind souvenir? Just don’t completely deprive yourself on festive days – your willpower will eventually snap, and you’ll end up overeating. Making your own meals also allows you to remove useless sugars and healthify your treats.
The habit: Staying physically active during the holidays. The result: Gaining less weight over the years. The proof: A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays – and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year. (That may not sound like a lot now, but it means having to buy roomier pants after a few Christmases pass.) The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight. This doesn’t mean drop talking to your relatives for the gym each day. Simply add in small exercises throughout the day. Crunches, squats, and back exercises can all be done in bed or near a bed.
You may be celebrating, but that doesn’t mean that that you should send your meal plan (and your judgment) on holiday. Alcohol can interfere with your blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream; it also contain a lot of calories – 89 calories per glass of white wine or champagne, 55 calories in a shot of vodka, and 170 calories in a pint of stout beer. What’s more, alcohol breaks down your inhibitions and judgment, which makes you that much less likely to resist the junk foods that you would otherwise be able to pass up. Plus make the office Christmas party one that you won’t, regrettably, be able to forget.