The holiday season is often filled with invitations to parties galore from friends, families and co-workers. And the holiday season cycle begins – overeating, weight gain, and a setback on our weight loss goals. It doesn’t have to happen! Follow these 10 simple steps from our guest writer Skye Cutrupi to avoid holiday weight gain.
1. Eat Breakfast: Every Fitness and health publication will tell you….EAT BREAKFAST. Without eating breakfast, you’re more vulnerable to cravings and less likely to make healthy eating choices in the morning and throughout the day.
2. Carry A Snack Reserve: Holiday schedules can be busy and impromptu; having one or two healthy snacks on hand can help prevent impulse eating at parties.
3. Eat Pre-Party: Going to a party on an empty stomach can be even more dangerous than doing your grocery shopping famished. You are not only more likely to eat things that you would otherwise be able to resist, but to eat them quickly and in great quantity as well, since all the food is immediately available. Your best bet is to eat something small but filling, even if it is just an apple, right before your event. This will break down the hold that an empty stomach has over the mind.
4. Be Aware of What You Are Drinking: Most of us have heard the adage, ‘Don’t Drink Your Calories,’ the holiday season only increases the need for awareness of the caloric intake of our beverages. With multiple parties, and tins of cookies from neighbors, chances are the month of December provides you with double the opportunities to indulge in sweet treats. If your daily coffee is along the lines of a caramel macchiato, try switching to something with fewer calories if you know that you will want to indulge in treats at a party later in the day. The same goes for any daily sugary drink intake.
5. Bring A Healthy Dish Or Bottle: Volunteer to bring a healthy/lower calorie dish, treat, or beverage that you like to the party. This way you know that there will be a healthier alternative that you can choose from. Fruit platter, vegetable dish, cookies or brownies that you have made with healthier substitutes, low calorie beer, Skinny-Girl Alcohol…you get the idea.
6. Make Choices: Deprivation as a form of dieting is neither healthy nor is it effective. Moderation and balance is key. Do you love Grandma’s holiday brownies, enjoy one of those, and skip over the treats you might be tempted to eat simply because they are there. You still get to enjoy your holiday favorites, but avoid the guilt of overindulgence. There are enough other factors during this season that can create stress, don’t let food be one of them.
7. Help Out: Lending a hand to a party host is not only in the holiday spirit, but can also be a good way to avoid the temptation of overeating. If you’re greeting guests and taking coats, playing DJ or pouring drinks, chances are you won’t have time to linger at the dessert table.
8. Wear Zippers & Buttons: Being comfortable in what you’re wearing is the most flattering look of all; elastic waistbands however can be a screaming invitation for overeating. When picking an outfit for a holiday party choose something that you like and are comfortable in, but also something with button or zippers, to help keep you aware of your food and drink intake.
9. Play With The Kids & Pets: Family gatherings and parties can be wonderful, but for many of us they can also be extremely stressful. Playing with children or household pets is a great way to sidestep and alleviate some of the stressors that can stem from such get togethers. Not only is it simply difficult to be stressed when you are making a fort of blocks, or tugging on the tail of a dragon hanging from a dog’s mouth, but you have also created a fun way to still be engaged at a function, that you might have been otherwise dreading.
10.Don’t Judge Your Insides By Other People’s Outsides: What does this statement mean? People have a tendency to compare their lives to the lives of others, and the holiday season can sometimes provide even more than the normal opportunity to do this. We see family members that we have not seen in months, friends back from college etc. What was your year like, their year like? How is your job, school, and so on. It’s easy to begin comparing the events of our year to those that we are hearing from others, and for some this could be a significant source of stress. Maybe your cousin got engaged, while your significant other of four years gifted you with a Keurig this year; your high school friend made deans list or an exclusive fraternity, someone got a big promotion, had a baby….Don’t judge your insides by other people’s outsides, is a way to remember that such a comparison will never be a fair one. Think about it, we have all the information about ourselves…good, bad, ugly, in between, and are attempting to compare it to a tiny fraction of what we know about the life of someone else. Be kind to yourself and remember this imbalance should you find your mind comparing your years’ events to those of others’. Avoiding the comparison trap can save you from unwarranted and unjustified stress and depression, and the possible desire to eat every sweet treat at the party.
If you follow these 10 simple steps you will still be on your way of getting and staying healthy and losing or sustaining your weight this holiday season.
This post was written by a guest author, Skye Cutrupi. Skye is a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor in Training, holds a B.A. In Political Science with an emphasis Conflict Resolution, and is a clumsy but devoted enthusiast of Yoga.