Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Well, it is that time of year again.  It is time to enjoy eggnog, chocolate, turkey and stuffing.  Most Canadians will put on some weight over the holidays and as we all know, it is much more fun to gain the weight than to lose.   We all want to enjoy the treats of the season, but paying the price in January is no way to start a new year.  So here are our top 5 tips to avoid that holiday bulge.

1.  Eat!  It sounds counterproductive but if you continue to eat a balanced diet focusing on lean protein, whole grains and fruits and vegetables throughout the holidays, you will be less likely to binge at parties and holiday dinners.    Also, consider eating a snack before heading out to an event.  A protein shake or an apple and a big glass of water will fill you up and keep you from devouring the entire appetizer table.  Also, grab the items you want from the buffet or snack table and then step away from the food!  Don’t hover around the chip bowl because that will definitely lead to more snacking.

2.  Drink lots of water and choose beverages wisely.  If you will be consuming alcohol, consider a vodka and soda over a glass of wine.  It is much fewer in calories and easier on the waistline.  Also, alternate one glass of alcohol with one glass of water to make sure you stay hydrated.  This will also help ensure that don’t over indulge or end up with a nasty hangover the next morning.  Reaching for eggnog?  Consider that a typical glass of eggnog has about 400 calories and 15 teaspoons of sugar.  Treat it more like a dessert than a beverage.

3.  Stay active.  This is the time of year when you don’t want to skimp on exercise.  You know the holidays are coming and you know you will indulge so mitigate the damage with extra exercise or a nice walk after dinner.   Staying active will also help digest food, avoid bloating and boost your mood!

4.  Be choosy.  Don’t eat everything but enjoy the foods you choose to eat.  For example, at the dessert table, don’t take a piece of everything.  Carefully choose what really appeals to you and then enjoy it rather than wasting calories on items that don’t really taste good to you.

5.  Plan ahead!  The worst thing is to feel guilty about indulging because that can often lead to feelings of deprivation or binge eating.  Decide ahead of time how you will “treat” yourself.  I will often decide before heading out weather my vice for the night is going to wine or cheesecake.  It is unreasonable to think that you will go out to a party and avoid all the bad foods so it is better instead to plan ahead for the treat.  That way, you can enjoy your glass of wine and feel good about passing on the dessert.