Tips for Surviving the Holidays
by Natalie Butler, RD, LD
Research was published in 2012 stating that overweight people can gain 5-8 pounds over the holidays. You have been working so hard and as much as you are looking forward to spending time with family and friends, follow these tips below to enjoy your holidays while not forfeiting your progress thus far.
When holiday food and candy is brought in, keep it off your desk, move it to a place in the office out of your sight or at the very least, keep it in an opaque container. Research shows that when food is readily available and visible, you can only tell yourself “no” so many times in a day before you finally give in. Keeping the food out of sight reduces the amount of times you have to tell yourself no. Because eating is synonymous with the holidays, plan ahead to have healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables readily available when you get the munchies.
Bring A Dish
Whether it’s a potluck, a party or a trip to mom’s house, offer to bring something that fits within your new eating habits so that you can comfortably eat at least one item. Refuse to take home unhealthy leftovers (or throw them away as soon as you can) and offer the food to others to get it out of your house.
When it comes time for work or family parties and other social gatherings, my best advice is:
Eat before you go – A fruit and a healthy fat or protein can go a long way in curbing your appetite enough so you aren’t starving when you get there. I often recommend an apple and a tablespoon of almond butter for an easy pre-party snack.
Minimize your alcohol intake – alcohol lowers your inhibitions so it is easier to eat more calories when you have had alcohol. Alternate water and alcohol so you are hydrating with zero calories in between your alcoholic drinks.
Fill up on any available veggies and fruits so you aren’t constantly grazing on high calorie foods
Don’t stand around the food tables – busy yourself talking, playing or partying somewhere other than the kitchen.
If your family gatherings typically involve sitting around, make a point to socialize on walks and plan fun activities to get the family moving more. Shopping, games and short bouts of exercise can all add up. The key is to keep up the habit of exercise during the holidays so you don’t have to start all over again come the new year. 30 minutes broken into three 10-minute increments can be just as effective!
When planning your vacations and travel itineraries, when possible book hotels that have gyms, are within walking distances to shops and sites and pack your tennis shoes. Also ideal is to book a hotel that has a kitchenette for extended stays so you don’t have to depend as much on eating out for every meal. When traveling domestically, you can carry or pack fresh fruits and veggies and many healthy “liquid” snacks under 3.5 oz. sizes like hummus and yogurt. Dry oatmeal packets (combined with hot water from the flight attendant) can make a healthy, easy and filling breakfast or snack! Don’t forget your Viance bars and Vitality blend for easy go-to snacks!