t is difficult to do a complete diet makeover or maintain a perfect diet
over the holidays, but that is no reason to completely neglect your health.
Consuming an extra 500 calories a day, roughly the equivalent of 4 holiday
cookies, several days a week can lead to a 5 pound weight gain in just
5 weeks. Luckily there are several things you can do to minimize the negative
impact the holidays have on your diet. These small changes are easy to
integrate into even the busiest schedule, and most importantly, you won’t
feel like you are missing out on the holiday fun.
The following 5 tips are simple and easy to work into your daily routine.
They are designed to help eliminate at least 100 calories a day from your
diet and improve your overall health.
Before you head out to any holiday gathering, eat a healthy meal or snack.
This prevents you from overeating out of starvation. Plan ahead and carry
extra snacks such as almonds, trail mix, and apples with you at all times
so you never arrive at party hungry.
Drink water. This time of year it is easy to forget to drink water when
it is so cold outside. Forgetting to drink can have serious health consequences
and even slow your metabolism, the rate at which you burn calories. Drinking
water speeds your metabolism and makes you feel fuller, leaving less room
for high calorie foods. Keep a bottle with you at all times, and drink
an extra glass before and after meals.
Eat foods high in protein. Holiday spreads consist of foods high in fat
and carbohydrates. Foods high in protein keep you full longer and are
lower in calories than their high fat and high carbohydrate counterparts.
Fill your plate with meat, poultry, and beans to feel full with minimal calories.
Choose your liquor wisely. Holiday drinks are full of sugar and calories
and the best diets can be completely sabotaged with a single cocktail.
Avoid mixing alcohol with sugary juices or high fat drinks like eggnog.
Instead, strive to consume clear drinks made of your choice of alcohol
mixed with tonic and lemon.
Take time to out for yourself. This is very stressful time of the year
and we often resort to emotional eating to cope. It is very easy to consume
an extra 1000 calories before realizing it. Combat this by scheduling
three minutes yourself a day to do deep breathing. Deep breathing has
physical and mental benefits, both of which will help you avoid the snack
table when you are not hungry.
Use these tips to reduce your overall calorie intake and to stay healthy
and happy this holiday season. You may even start the New Year weighing
less than you did at the beginning of the season.
By Amanda Allen MS, CSCS