Written By: Emma Squillace
People sometimes gain 10 pounds or more through the winter holiday season. It’s easy to understand why. Even though we’ve got just a few days of actual holidays, we’re faced with cookies at the office, candy bowls at the bank, holiday parties every weekend, and dinners full of rich foods. But there’s no reason that your weight loss efforts need to be put on hold for the season, or even sabotaged, by all the temptations. Here are our tips for indulging in the holidays, without gaining weight.
Know it’s ok to indulge on holidays
The first thing we want you to know is that it is absolutely ok to have your favorites on a holiday! There’s no reason that you should sit, feeling deprived, while everyone else gets your mom’s famous peanut butter pinwheel cookies, or raises a glass of champagne to the new year. The key is to keep those indulgences for the holiday itself. Where we run into trouble is when Christmas cookies turn into 2 weeks of cookies, leftovers from parties and family meals give us 4 more days of rich, carb-laden meals, or well-meaning house guests bring big boxes of truffles as presents. Eat well before each holiday, and rid your house of temptation right after. That gives you the freedom to celebrate the holiday while enjoying your favorites, without worrying about weeks of weight gain.
Plan out your plate
One way to help balance the calories of holiday meals is to think about how you’re going to fill your plate. Aim for 50% filled with salad or veggies, 30% with protein, and 20% with carbs. This still leaves room for mashed potatoes or stuffing, but lets you alternate those bites with higher fiber, more nutritious foods. The fiber of the veggies also works to help you feel full longer. If you’re mindful of eating slowly and really enjoying every bite, that can help you feel truly satisfied with less food than you might otherwise eat.
Be careful with alcohol
Many holiday gatherings include festive alcoholic beverages. These drinks can be dangerous for 2 reasons. First, alcoholic drinks can be high in calories (like eggnog which has hundreds of calories in one cup) and second because after a few drinks, some people are more likely to overindulge in food. If you’re going to a cocktail party or holiday dinner, make sure you drink a full glass of water before your first drink, then another full glass of water after that drink. Also, if you’re at a party where people are standing around, try to be somewhere that you can put your drink down. You’re less likely to sip your drink mindlessly if it’s not in your hand. If you want to skip the alcohol, even better. Ask for a seltzer water with a slice of lemon or lime, or a hot tea to help you warm up.
Does moderation work for you?
Some people are excellent about indulging in moderation. They can eat one cookie, or 3 bites of pie, and feel satisfied with their taste of something sweet. Some of us are the opposite: we do better if we skip dessert or chips altogether. We can find the strength to say “no thank you,” knowing that a few bites will be harder than having no bites. Which category do you fall under? If you know that you can take a few M&Ms from the candy bowl and feel that your sweet tooth has been satisfied, that’s great. However, if you know that having a few bites of something sweet will make you crave even more of it, you’ll be more successful by saying “no” to that tempting food altogether.
Many of us have favorite holiday foods that we look forward to at this time of year. If you’re careful about how you eat on most days, work extra vegetables into your meals, and plan around those indulgences, the holidays don’t have to be a time of weight gain and regret. If you’re frustrated with unsuccessful weight loss efforts, call West Medical to find out about surgical and non-surgical options to help you find weight loss success in the new year. You can reach us at 855-690-0565.