It's the most wonderful time of the year! But from a health standpoint it is becoming the biggest weight gain time of the year. People are packing on more pounds from Thanksgiving to New Years than from New Years to Thanksgiving and although we don't want to have say no to every holiday treat that comes our way, we do want you to walk into the New Year being able to wear your pants not rip your pants!!
Here are some simple strategies for the Christmas season:
#1 Have A Plan: Plan out your special treats. You plan out your appointments, your work events, and the other aspects of your life, and nutrition should not be any different. Use a planner and plot out all the parties and reward meals that you are going to have for the month and just acknowledge that on those days you are going to cast aside any idea of diet and enjoy yourself. Now just plan out your week around those dates. Honestly, if you can just plan on 1-2 reward meals per week and stick to that, you will probably be one of the exceptional ones who actually lose weight during the holidays!
#2 Workout First Thing In the Morning. Don't put off getting in your daily activity. Things are going to come up in the afternoons, especially this time of year with office parties, holiday events, Christmas shopping,etc. Getting your workout before the day gets going will guarantee you to have a higher calorie burning engine throughout the day.
#3 Get Protein, Produce, and Water Before Diving Into The Sugars and Starches. Besides the huge benefits from getting these in, protein and fiber will fill you up so that you won't devour the entire cake yourself! They also help offset the blood sugar rush that comes from overloading on cookies and other snacks. I make a practice of getting in a small protein shake with added fiber before I go off to a big event centered around high calorie foods. It leaves still with a bit of an appetite but I'm not in starvation mode when I arrive.
#4 Avoid Liquid Calories: Decide which of the eats and treats are really important to you and save yourself for that particular item. If ,for instance, you are craving the pumpkin pie then filling your gut with liquid calories is not the way to go. Choose where you want your calories to come from. The same can be said for the high calorie drinks. If that's your favorite then cut back on the calories from solid food. The reality is that you really can't expect to eat high calorie foods AND drink high calorie liquids and not have a spare tire come January.
With that, plan to have some indulgence with your friends and family and just bookend the holidays with more lower calorie meals centered around meat and veggies!