8 December 2015 Five Ways to "Hold the Holidays"
As I look at our calendar this week, we have three holiday parties on the agenda filled with savory delights of mini quiches, pot stickers, and meat rolls filled with cream cheese to sweet pleasures of peppermint bark, truffles and gingerbread cookies and, of course, tantalizing beverages offered just once a year.
Since there is such an emphasis on food and celebration from mid-November to early January, it is obviously not a good time to start losing weight. Thus, this holiday season, make your goal to maintain and not gain weight. Interestingly enough, even though the media touts that the average American gains 5 pounds during these 6 weeks of festivities, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine determined that the average person gains just one pound over the holidays. The problem is that this one pound is never lost during the summer and our weight slowly creeps up; thus, typically we gain 10 pounds over 10 years.
Consequently, in addition to helping you “hold the holidays,” incorporating these healthy nutrition and exercise tips into your routine each week will also help you build better habits today which will last you a lifetime.
5 Ways to Hold the Holidays
1. Weigh yourself when you wake up every morning.
Though weighing yourself daily is controversial as a strategy for weight management, a systematic literature review demonstrated that “frequent self-weighing seems to be a helpful strategy for adults who have been successful at losing weight, maintaining weight loss, or preventing weight gain.”
Thus, try an experiment on yourself this season and determine if weighing yourself daily is a good reality check to prevent weight gain.
2. When you indulge, make sure it is something worth indulging in.
Make good choices so that those appealing food encounters really are worth it. Rather than choosing a factory-made sweet treat, which after a while all taste the same to me, select something unique or special which you have never had before. Make a conscious choice to tickle your taste buds and try something new and homemade. Ask yourself if those calories are worth it or if you are just eating those foods because they are there.
3. Start the day with a healthy breakfast which contains a protein food.
Some people trying to lose weight assume that they can save their daily calories for the company party that evening by not eating breakfast. However, by the time the evening party rolls around, the person is so hungry that he/she does not have the patience to make good choices. Thus, eating a hearty breakfast with a good source of protein, such as a hard-boiled egg, oatmeal with nuts, whole grain bread with peanut butter or an unflavored yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts makes a protein-filled breakfast to start the day and prevent overeating later in the day.
4. Walk. Walk. Walk.
You know all of those little ways to increase steps; well, apply them today!
- Climb the stairs.
- Park as far away from your work and grocery store as possible.
- Walk to the drinking fountain once an hour.
- Walk in place or lift weights during commercials on TV
- Pace when you are talking on the phone.
Stepping it up (sorry about the pun) and implementing those small changes can make a big difference today and in the future.
5. Fill up on fruits and vegetables. Eat five per day.
Fill your day with at least five fruits and vegetables for healthy weight management. Fruits and vegetables provide many antioxidants and fiber to keep you fuller longer. If you are invited to a holiday party, bring a fruit or vegetable tray; in addition to providing a healthy and colorful alternative on the potluck line, if there are leftovers, you have a healthy option at home.
Finally, by weighing yourself every morning, indulging only in foods that are worth it, beginning the day with a hearty breakfast that contains protein, stepping up your walking, and eating five fruits and vegetables a day, you can prevent gaining that one pound that is so difficult to lose in a year. By building better habits today, you can decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, types of cancer, and prediabetes. Challenge yourself to “hold the holidays” and maintain your weight.
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