Pecan pie! Honey-glazed ham! Candy cane truffles! Holiday food can inspire anxiety or ecstasy—or both—depending on your mindset.
Here’s the good news: The average weight gain for the holiday season is just one pound. Now for the bad: While that might not sound like much, research shows we don’t lose it, and that one pound adds up year after year.
Sweet treats and rich meals can be landmines for health-conscious people, yet no one wants to feel deprived during the happiest season of all. No need to fear—there are sensible ways to navigate this territory. Here are some of my favorite tips that have helped clients (and myself) NOT gain weight during the holidays!
TIP # 1: Eat a healthy and hearty breakfast.
Eating a healthy breakfast sets the stage for the entire day. If you start your day off with a doughnut or leftover pie, you can trigger a relentless sweet tooth the rest of the day.
Don’t skip breakfast either, as that will leave you dragging through your morning and more likely to overeat later because you’re starving.
Start with something that has lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and some healthy fat to give you energy and keep you satisfied until your next meal. Think oatmeal, with nuts and dried fruit or Greek yogurt with granola, or an omelet with veggies and a sprinkling of your favorite cheese. A super easy option is almond butter on whole grain toast and this is super delicious with sliced strawberries!
Tip #2: Go to social gatherings to gather (not to eat and drink).
You go to family gatherings, work parties, and other social events to see your friends and loved ones—so see them! Use these times to socialize and be present rather than rummaging for holiday treats, wine, and cocktails.
A good idea is to “pre-eat” something with protein and vegetables to stabilize your blood sugar.
Tip # 3: Savor what you love. Stay away from what you like.
Instead of piling your plate a mile high with things that don’t really tantalize your taste buds (fruit cake, we’re looking at you!), pick only the foods that give you true enjoyment. For your food favorites, take small servings and really savor each and every bite. If something doesn’t make you swoon, leave it on the sideline.
Tip # 4: Stick to only splurging for one event a week.
The biggest mistake people make at the holidays is making Thanksgiving a four-day feast instead of a one-day indulgence. Then the holiday parties come, and all of a sudden you’re giving yourself an excuse to have treats nearly every day. Rather than letting your holiday feast roll into pie for breakfast, limit your splurges to one event per week.
Tip # 5: Nix the guilt!
Feeling guilty after eating foods you don’t usually allow yourself to eat can breed more unhealthy behaviors. So abandon those negative voices in your head, give yourself permission to enjoy the indulgence guilt-free, and then remember to get back on track with your normal eating routine the very next day.
I hope these tips help you and be sure to check my blog on Sunday because I will be sharing five more easy-to-follow tips to help you NOT gain weight this holiday season!