Staying Happy & Healthy During The Holidays
By Eshley Spitzer
Tis’ the season to be jolly! Despite the cold weather, the winter months come around bringing colorful lights, an abundance of smiles, gifts, parties and a whole lot of extra delicious dishes. Although the food brings big servings of holiday spirit, it can come with a price—a whole lot of extra calories. In fact, most Americans gain 1-3 pounds each holiday season and those who are overweight tend to pack on about five pounds between Thanksgiving and the new year.
So how can holiday dishes be enjoyed without feeling like the Grinch stole good figures worked on in the gym throughout the entire year? Don’t be discouraged—there are many ways to stay fit while indulging in eggnog, pumpkin pie and Santa’s cookies.
Here are 6 Skinny Ways to Stay Healthy This Holiday
1. Walkin’ around the Christmas tree
The key to cutting out some extra calories is activity. A great way to boost your metabolism and feel refreshed is to keep up with regular exercise. Although the winter months can discourage us from stepping out in the cold, keeping your heart rate up and getting around 150 minutes of exercise each week is a great way to maintain your pre-holiday weight. Walk around the shopping mall while buying gifts, take a stroll with the family during a holiday gathering or hit the gym with a friend
2. Cut It In Half
Nobody wants to say no to the dessert table, but why go for 4 slices of each cake on the table when you could cut the slice in half? Try everything, but try it in moderation—split a slice with a friend or do a “taste test,” taking one bite of each treat and savoring the flavors, instead of committing to a full serving that will leave you feeling overly stuffed & with a whole lot of extra calories.
3. Make a time for your treats
Instead of continuously visiting the overflowing table of holiday goodies at work or at home, pick a certain time of day to treat yourself to one of those servings. Choosing a specific time for a treat each day gives you something to look forward to, allowing a time to indulge without making it a constant habit.
4. Mind your munching
It’s easy to sit in front of the television only to realize 30 minutes later that the entire plate of cookies on the table is gone, and you didn’t even notice! Keep from munching constantly by being mindful of your food. Don’t put something in your mouth without savoring the flavor. Chew slowly, try and pick up on the different ingredients adding to the final taste and pay full attention to your food. If you make food a priority while eating instead of a pastime to accompany all other activities, eating wont be an all day long activity.
5. Don’t come (too) hungry
Parties are full of flavorful and fun dishes—but the key to enjoying without overindulging is preparing ahead of time. Eat a small snack that incorporates protein such as a few turkey slices, 12-24 almonds and an apple or a ½ cup cottage cheese, to keep you satiated and keep the snacking to a minimum. If you aren’t starving at a party you will spend the time with family and friends instead of spending it in the buffet line.
6. Add support to your wish list
While asking for gifts during the holidays, don’t forget to ask for extra support from family and trusted friends to keep you healthy. Ask someone special to help you stay slim by checking in with you and avert your eyes from overpowering your stomach and your New Year resolutions. Having someone to report to, keep you in check or even just encourage you to stay on top of your goals.
Although it’s not easy to win the battle against holiday desserts, drinks and dining, starting 2014 without another 1-5 extra pounds to lose will be the one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself this holiday.
Eshley Spitzer is a health coach at WebMD Health Services.