It’s that time of year again for holiday office luncheons, parties, and family gatherings filled with festivities and food everywhere. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, the holiday season is filled with treats that tempt even the most disciplined of individuals. But is holiday weight gain inevitable? Not if you follow some simple steps to help you keep off those extra holiday pounds. Here are some tips to help you survive the season without sacrificing the fun and festivities:
- Never skip a meal before a party or celebration. This will prevent you from losing control and overeating at the party. Skipping meals creates a famine-feast cycle. Try to avoid standing near the food, eat from a plate, and drink a large glass of water before you eat.
- Focus on quality instead of quantity. Sample one or two foods that you really like. Keep your portions small and enjoy these special foods.
- Plan physical activity as a holiday celebration. Many holiday celebrations involve the outdoors – ice skating, skiing, and sledding. Take a walk around your neighborhood and enjoy the lighting displays and decorations.
- Practice healthy cooking techniques. Modify recipes by reducing the amount of sugar or fat in baked products.
- Give the gift of health. Rather than making candies and cookies, why not give a gift of homemade wheat bread, or a basket of fresh fruit and nuts?
- Watch what drinks you consume. Limit alcoholic drinks to one or two servings, and avoid high-fat eggnog.
- Get enough sleep every night. Lack of sleep can affect your metabolism by influencing your hunger and weight gain.
- Concentrate on socializing. This will take your mind off of food and focus your attention on interacting with others.
- Prioritize your schedule. Plan weekly family activities and celebrations. Don’t forget to plan time for yourself.
- Just say “no” politely. If you don’t feel you can eat another bite, politely say so!
Remember, this is the season to celebrate with family and friends. Planning ahead is an important strategy to help you maintain weight or prevent weight gain over the holidays. Celebrate, but don’t overdo it!
Author: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences & the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, Ohio State University Extension.