Here it is, the dietitian’s advice on how to keep weight off during the most delicious time of the year. It’s pretty normal for a 1-2 pound weight gain during the entire holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Multiply that by 10 years of holidays and you have an extra 20 pounds and have no idea how you got there.
Well, I have some simple tips that don’t take any extra effort than just paying attention. You can do this.
- Get enough sleep. Believe it or not, skimping on sleep could add inches to your waistline. Know how much sleep your body needs. Some people need less and some people need much more. If you are sluggish, stressed, run down and unable to focus, you may not be getting enough sleep. Take time for yourself.
- Exercise: This is one of my biggest to-do’s before every big meal. Performing even moderate intensity exercise can keep your metabolism raised for up to 12 hours post exercise. So, that means your body will burn more calories at rest. This doesn’t mean you can eat an extra 1,000 calories at your next cocktail party, but it does mean that you should be able to enjoy your meal without guilt. Food and guilt should never go together.
- Alcohol: Now, some may look at this and call me crazy. After all, holiday cocktails are pretty dang delicious. But, the fact is, alcohol has more calories gram for gram than carbohydrate or protein. Alcohol will give you 7 calories per gram, while carbs and protein each have 4 calories per gram. Those little drinks add up on the calorie-meter. Let’s not mention that the more we drink, the more we eat. Just be smart.
- No Skipping Meals: This one is a no-brainer. You may be thinking – well, if I skip this meal and save the calories, I can eat more later. Mathematically, that makes sense. But metabolically, it does not. Don’t mess with your body by starving it. If you want to eat a little less for lunch because you’ll have a big dinner, do that. Here’s a solution. You’ll be eating a ton tonight at your office party, so for lunch fill up on protein (chicken, tuna, eggs) with some greens and fruit. That should keep your full until your late dinner. If needed, grab and apple and a big glass of water an hour or two before the meal to keep yourself from overeating.
- Relax: Finding a healthy way to relax can help reduce the stress in your life. A hormone called cortisol is produced when the body is stressed. Too much cortisol can lead to weight gain. What a terrible way to gain weight, you don’t even get to enjoy the food – because you’re not eating, you’re stressed. Everyone has their own way of distressing – for some people it’s yoga, for some it’s sitting down and watching mindless comedies on TV, or maybe it’s playing with your kids or going for a walk with your significant other. Find out what relaxes you and get it done.