We are less than a month away from Thanksgiving, with Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve coming up quick! Traditionally, the holiday season is difficult on diets and exercise routines. Indulgent multi-course dinners and piles of office break-room treats tempt even the most diligent dieters.
If you’re worried about packing on a few unwanted pounds, try these tips to stay trim during the holiday season.
Pregame for a Party with a Healthy Snack
Arriving at a party or dinner starving is a recipe for dietary disaster. Eat a snack ahead of time so you aren’t ravenous. Try some plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey, a piece of string cheese or a handful of cut-up fruit.
Offer to Bring a Dish
If it feels appropriate, bring a dish to the party or meal. This ensures that there will be at least one healthy, tasty option that you’ll eat. You can control the ingredients (and make healthy swaps where necessary).
Eat Slowly, with Intention
Keeping your diet on track could be as simple as being mindful of what you’re eating. When you are distracted by a good conversation or the stimulation of a holiday party, it’s easy to overeat. Avoid mindlessly dipping into a bowl of nuts or chips, and concentrate on chewing your food slowly and thoroughly. Note the smell, taste and texture of your food, and stop when you feel satiated.
Use a Smaller Plate
A good way to trick yourself into eating less is using smaller plates and smaller serving utensils. By the same token, drink out of a tall, skinny glass instead of a fat, wide glass (it holds less liquid).
Weigh Yourself Regularly
Weigh yourself every day and use that number as a basic guide for your diet/exercise routine. Another good trick is to try on your favorite slim-fitting pants once a week, to check the fit. Too tight? Tweak your exercise/diet. Just right? Maintain your current routine.
Keep a Food Diary
Hold yourself accountable for your dietary choices by maintaining a food diary that tracks every morsel you eat or drink. Use an electronic app like MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople to enter in the type and amount of food and beverages you eat and drinks on a daily basis, and keep track of your calorie intake. This is a great way to keep your consumption in check at the dinner or buffet table.
Break Up Your Daily Exercise
If you’re finding it hard to fit your normal five-mile jog into your holiday routine, opt for shorter bursts of exercise throughout the day; for example, do two or three 10-minute bursts of activity. Body weight exercises like lunges, squats and push-ups are simple, yet effective.
Also, you may not realize it, but all of the chores and household prep (e.g., vacuuming, mopping, picking up around the house) is physical activity! Shopping for gifts also involves a lot of walking; take an extra lap around the mall if you feel up to it.
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