Nutrition Solutions / Lisa Corrado
For some, the holiday season is a magical time of year. For others, it's an annual challenge to fit into the same clothes. Weight gain is a real concern during holidays. I'll let you in on a little secret -- eating until you burst on Thanksgiving is not the problem. Eating anything you want every regular day is.
What we tend to do when faced with a string of food-related holidays is let our daily eating get off track. Temptations are all around us: Halloween candy that seems to magically reproduce, seasonal coffee beverages that are secretly calorie bombs, that ever-full bowl of festively colored chocolate treats in the office. It's easier to say we'll start fresh in January. And that's the real problem, not the feast you have on any given holiday.
The good news is you can keep yourself on track and avoid holiday weight gain, starting right this very minute. Make sure your everyday eating is good, and you can indulge a little on an actual holiday with no regrets. Here's how:
Set a goal. This time of year, it's a big win to simply maintain your weight, so consider starting with that.
Ramp up your accountability. Keep a food diary for a few days. You may think you know everything you eat. I'll bet you don't. Writing it down is like looking in a mirror: You'll see a clear picture of what's really going on.
Use the buddy system to help keep you on track. Plan regular check-ins with a like-minded friend. Use the time to review your food diary or just talk through how you've been eating. If you're doing a lot of baking, do it together and make a pact to not lick every bowl or eat every broken cookie.
It's easy to fall into the mindset of "I've eaten so much already that it doesn't matter. I'll just get back on track in January." As I tell my clients, use your very next opportunity to get back on track. The longer you wait, the less likely it is that you'll make it happen.
Employ sneaky strategies, like:
Make it easy. This time of year, I really appreciate having quick, healthy lunch and dinner options. My secret is to stock my refrigerator and freezer with healthy prepared foods from the store. When I'm out to dinner, I'll order an extra entree to eat later in the week. If it's available and on hand, it's easy to eat healthy.
Keep your eyes on the prize. Visualize waking up on Jan. 1. How would you like to feel? My guess is your answer is something like "energetic, healthy, good," not "bloated, overweight, exhausted."
Keep that visualization in mind as you make decisions on what you'll eat and what you'll skip.