There’s no getting around the fact that the holidays are full of food, and for most of us, that goes hand-in-hand with guilt. Okay, so we’re not going to delve into the psychology of eating and how it often revolves around feelings (what would great Aunt Edna say if you didn’t sample her special sweet potato pie that she made just for you because she knows how much you love it?). Yeah. We’ve all had a few of those moments. But you need to know that it’s possible to break the pattern that leaves you with five extra pounds at the end of the holiday season and a brand new resolution to lose them in the New Year. As long as you take the time to pinpoint your triggers, you can make a plan that will get you through the holidays without gaining a pound. Here are a few hints to help you out.
How to Get Through the Holidays without Gaining a Pound
Skip the alcohol.
This is rule number one. Sure, it can be fun to booze it up at a holiday party where the drinks are free, or you might need a glass of wine (or three) to deal with your crazy family, but the truth is that drinking during the holidays is detrimental to your weight in several ways. For one thing, alcohol is packed with sugar and high in calories, which is a bad place to start any meal. For another thing, it slows down your body’s systems (including digestion and metabolism). And finally, it definitely has the ability to lower your inhibitions, which means you may end up eating more than you ever intended.
Anyone who has dealt with weight issues knows that it all comes down to calories in, calories out. So if you want to enjoy all the wonderful treats that come around but once a year (without gaining a pound), you’ll have to find a way to burn them off, which means adding some physical activity to your roster. While a nice walk after dinner couldn’t hurt, you probably need to ramp it up a little bit with some higher-intensity effort.
Make a food plan.
When it comes to watching what you eat, “winging it” is not so much a plan as a recipe for disaster. If you fail to go in with some idea about how you will deal with the massive amounts of food you encounter, it’s all too easy to go overboard with eating and end up regretting your choices. So think about what you can do to cut back but still enjoy yourself. You can try using a smaller plate (and only one serving) or the one-spoon method (take one spoon of everything so you can have a taste). And definitely permit yourself to avoid eating the dishes you don’t like! When Aunt Edna sees how great you look, she’ll forgive you.
One excellent way to keep the holiday weight off is to prepare dishes you feel comfortable eating. That way, you’ll always know at least one thing fits your diet so that you don’t have to feel deprived while everyone else indulges.
Eat ahead of time.
If you’re worried about sticking to your plan when you attend the many holiday events that permeate the season, eat ahead of time so you won’t be tempted. You could eat a whole meal or prepare a smoothie with filling protein powder, but either way you’ll be less likely to overdo it if you’re not starving to begin with.
Carol Montrose is a contributing writer for Get Prograde where you can find articles and tools to help you start losing weight.