Holiday weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be up to an average of five pounds!
This might not be the best time to aim for weight loss. However, that doesn’t mean you should go all-out the next few weeks, and then try to start fresh in the new year, either.
Here are five tips to help you indulge mindfully:
Tip # 1: Be picky. You may have family and friends bringing you treats at every turn. You may have work events, celebrations, and friends’ parties to attend. You may have goodies that only come around one time per year. You may have traditions that include special foods. The list can go on and on, but be picky. Choose what you enjoy the most, and enjoy it. You don’t have to forgo your favorites, but skip your not-so-favorites, so you are limiting the extra calorie impact.
Tip # 2: Savor each bite, eating slowly. Take smaller bites. Place your utensils down in between bites. Notice the colors, smells, tastes, and texture of each bite. Lengthen the time it takes to eat the treats, traditional meals, or holiday specialties. Savoring a smaller amount of the foods we love can be just as, if not more, satisfying that eating more of the same foods. When we eat rapidly, we often miss our body’s fullness cues, and end up feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. Eating slowly is a great way to enjoy the foods without the discomfort, and helps prevent over-indulging.
Tip # 3: Offer to bring something you enjoy. This is something I personally tend to do year-round when attending a party. I happen to enjoy eating vegetables, and lighter fare, which is often hard-pressed to find at many events. My go-to options: hummus or guacamole with veggie sticks and chips; a vegetable side dish or salad; or a fruit bowl for dessert.
Tip # 4: Focus on the holiday experience. Food is often a central focus of many gatherings, however that is not what leaves a lasting impression. Realizing that it is a special time to enjoy our relationships with friends and family, experiencing our traditions or creating new ones, and sharing memories that last a lifetime.
Baking and decorating holiday treats with friends or family is a perfect example. The laughs and memories created during the process will stick with you longer than the taste of a decorated sugar cookie.
Tip # 5: Don’t skip your workouts or physical activity. Whether you indulge more than you planned, or keep it within moderation, exercise has more benefits than just burning off those calories. Moving your body is something you do for yourself, not in spite of yourself. Do it to feel good (hello endorphins), to help aid in digestion, to keep your energy up, but not as punishment for having an extra cookie. If you end up skipping or missing a workout, don’t fret. Just pick up where you left off. It’s a slippery slope when you start to “slack” and justify, “I’ll just wait until the new year to start fresh.” No matter what, there will be an opportunity to improve in the new year, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
If you’re looking for accountability and/or a customized plan to fit your lifestyle, we have several options to fit your needs! As always, you can schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation to see if there’s a right fit for you.
Stephanie Brust, MS, RDN, LD/N