Do you ever read or hear something and for whatever reason it sticks with you forever? A few years ago I read that on average a person gains 1 pound over the holidays. Not bad right? Not so fast…that 1 pound is actually a pound that is never lost over the course of the year. So if this is in fact the average that would mean in 10 years we would all have an additional 10 pounds added to our blubber factor. Bleh…
Most of the time, most of the year, I am annoyingly good about eating healthy and exercising. Right now though I am not anywhere near where I would like to be physically and frankly do not need an additional ounce, let alone pound, making me feel even worse. Without even considering the weight, holiday food in general can leave you feeling yucky, cranky, bloated and lazy. Not exactly my favorite feelings!
Before you roll your eyes at me (and shove your neighbor’s delicious sugar cookie in your pretty little face) do know that I am not going to tell you to avoid all the yumminess that comes with this time of year. I am certainly not planning on depriving myself…but I am going to avoid overdoing it, or at least put in the effort. Here are a few of my favorite ways to do so:
- Manage the treats. Since we already talked about sugar cookies let’s start there. Many people love to give treats as gifts. I love to receive treats as gifts. Often times though there is an overabundance of treats…and an intervention on the treat consumption must happen. Many items can be stored in the freezer for slower paced treat eating. This is less shock on your system and makes the treats last longer. You could also find someone who is not as lucky as you to have so many goodies and share. That’s what this time of year is all about anyways!
- Avoid the dip. Or at the very least, dip only 1 or 2 of your fresh veggies and fruits in the scrumptious dip while reserving the others to eat dipless. I get it, those dips are totally kick arse…but they are full of calories and a lot of times sugar. It adds up fast.
- Divvy up dessert. You have a choice. Either decide you are going to have a normal portion of your favorite dessert and avoid the rest…or take teeny tiny, itty bitty, who-size portions of the desserts you want to try. There is no reason for anyone to have a dessert mountain on their plate. It’s just asking for trouble.
- Remove yourself from the food area. Ever linger around the food and find yourself constantly popping something in your mouth? Oh yeah..that’s totally me. What I find best to do is walk away from the scene of the crime. Go find the kids and start a game or ask Uncle Bob how his gout is doing. Whatever it is…get away from those calories!
- Pace yourself with the alcohol. I know, know..I like cocktails. Especially festive ones. But they do dehydrate which is not good when trying to keep your system regulated. Make sure you drink at least 2 glasses of water between every cocktail. Put a lime twist and a couple of cranberries in it if you want to feel fancy.
- Be the one who brings the healthy salad. If you are worried about over-consumption, and need something healthy to fill your plate, take charge and bring that good for you dish. Salads, such as spinach and kale, are great because they can fill a lot of space on your plate. They are also pretty (especially this spinach and strawberry one) and believe it or not, are usually well received be everyone else already on a holiday binge hangover.
- Pace yourself. This may seem like an obvious one but it’s worth mentioning. If you are like us, you have several events and gathering to attend where carb loaded, sugary food is the main course. Enjoy but don’t go crazy. Remember you don’t have to try everything and you certainly do not need to go back for seconds.
- Walk it off. Being cooped up in the house is a sure fire way to retain that pound “they say” we gain this time of year. Throw your coat on and take a holiday walk. Enjoy the lights, heck, get crazy and do a little caroling. (Just don’t drink the cocoa.) The fresh air and exercise will be much appreciated by your body.
Enjoy that food, it’s meant to be enjoyed…but do it in a way that will make you still like yourself come January 1st.