Health & Fitness
How to keep your waistline this holiday season!
November 30, 2016
For most of us, the holiday season is a time of indulgence. Decadent Christmas cakes and sweets, juicy roast turkey and scrumptious side dishes, not to mention the numerous drinks that go with all the goodies! If you still want to fit into your gorgeous New Year’s Eve outfit without feeling deprived of all your holiday favorites, consider the following tips and tricks to help you indulge in moderation. Here’s how to enjoy the holiday season without adding the extra pounds!
Limit to one-a-day
It seems that during the holidays, temptation is absolutely everywhere. If you are constantly bombarded with holiday parties and Christmas candies, whether at home, at the office or out, one of the most effective ways to prevent overeating is the ‘one-a-day’ method. Allow yourself one indulgence each day. Be aware, however, that you may still have to compensate for it later in the day; either reduce your calorie intake the following day or suffer that extra time on the treadmill. If you are not tempted one day and forgo your one-a-day treat, don’t double up the next day!
The key to maintaining healthy eating habits is to plan ahead, and this rule also applies to the holiday season. The ultimate rule for surviving the holidays and maintaining your waistline is to never go to a party hungry. Before you head off, eat a healthy snack such as a serving of fruit, fat-free yogurt, or a low-calorie granola bar. This way, when you arrive at the party, the buffet table will not be your first stop. If you do arrive hungry, drink some water to fill up before filling your plate. If you are going to a party and aren’t sure if there will be any low-fat options, bring your own dish. Not only is this a thoughtful gesture, but no matter what food is available, you will have at least one dish which you can eat with confidence. Low-calorie dishes include a salad, a grilled veggie plate, or a fruit platter. Bringing your own dessert is always a good idea as it will (hopefully for those of us with even the slightest self-control) make the more fattening alternatives less tempting.
Outsmart the buffet table
When you approach the buffet table, opt for the smallest plate available and do not stack layer upon layer of food. When it comes to appetizers, be wise in your choices as a small portion of healthy appetizers may aid in not overeating when the main dish arrives! Choose vegetables, but limit your intake of creamy dips that accompany them. Try to avoid crackers, chips, and the endless supply of cheeses usually available. If you absolutely cannot say no to a deep-fried appetizer, eat only one small portion and don’t go back for seconds. For your main meal, fill half your plate with salad and vegetables, one quarter with meat, and one quarter with starch. Avoid creamy sauces and those made with meat drippings. Top your salads with oil and vinegar, vinaigrette, lemon-oil, or other low-fat dressings. For dessert, the best options are fruits, jell-O, pudding, shortbread cookies, or unfrosted mini-muffins. If you absolutely must have some Bûche de Noël, limit yourself to one small piece.
The good news is that turkey is naturally low in fat containing only one gram of fat per ounce of meat, as well as being an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, folic acid, zinc, and potassium. Studies also show that cooking turkey with the skin on seals the natural juices so the fat from the skin is not absorbed into the meat. What this means for you is that you don’t have to eat dry, skinless cuts of turkey; simply remove the skin before eating it.
Just say NO
Sometimes you feel forced to eat certain foods simply because they are always offered. We all know too well that in the Middle East a good hostess pushes a number of times when offering food or drink to guests before moving on to the next victim! Learn to say no politely and be persistent. A simple “No, thank you, I’ve had enough. Everything was delicious,” or “I couldn’t eat another bite. Everything tasted wonderful,” should do the trick with even the most persistent of hostesses. If all else fails, opt for whatever seems least fattening and eat slowly. Remember, you don’t have to finish everything on your plate; if you are tempted to try something that looks scrumptious, just have a bite to satisfy your curiosity and your craving!
Watch what you drink
While most people are aware of, and at least try to limit, their intake of all the calorie-ridden holiday favorite dishes they so eagerly await each year, few give thought to the drinks they consume, which can potentially sky rocket their calorie intake. When you are at a Christmas party, opt for a light beer or wine rather than a vodka mixer or cocktail to keep your calories down and try to restrict alcohol intake to one or two servings before switching to water or a low-fat beverage such as club soda or diet iced tea. Besides the calories in all that bubbly, alcohol lowers your inhibitions. After knocking back a few drinks with friends and family, you are more likely to throw caution to the wind and go for that second piece of decadent (but deadly) Christmas cake!
Stop munching and start chatting
With a golden roasted turkey with all the trimmings, an elaborately decorated Bûche de Noël, and a seemingly endless supply of Christmas-colored liqueurs and sugared almonds all at your fingertips, it may be hard to remember that Christmas parties are not just about food; they are about friends and family and gathering together to celebrate. Enjoy the company of loved ones; chatting is a great diversion whether you are at an intimate gathering at a friend’s house or a huge family get-together. Take your mind off the food and focus on the conversation. Most importantly, step away from the buffet table! Hovering around it will only increase temptation to go all-out knowing you will regret it the next day.
Don’t let the holidays be an excuse to stray from your exercise routine; keep your workouts on schedule. With all the parties to plan for, presents to purchase, and holiday celebrations to keep you busy, it’s easy to let your workouts take the back burner. A 30-minute brisk walk can do wonders for your waistline, and no, casually strolling around the mall admiring the Christmas window displays doesn’t count! On the days when you really lack motivation, commit to just ten minutes. Once you get started, you will probably end up doing more and if you don’t, ten minutes is better than nothing!