The holiday season is quickly approaching and while this is a festive and fun season, it can also be a challenging time with numerous food temptations, which can lead to weight gain. As Jan 1st rolls around, our resolution will be to lose the weight gained during these next 6 weeks, eat healthy and get physically fit.
As we all know, it is not healthy to ride the roller coaster of gaining weight only to try to lose it. This puts our bodies in a bit of a yo-yo rhythm and makes it harder to keep weight off in the long run. Here are some tips to help avoid the weight gain this holiday season so you can arrive on Jan 1st ahead of the game, with the resolution to continue eating healthy, getting more fit and having a great 2014.
Studies show that emotional eating is the number one reason we overeat followed by external cues, then taste and finally hunger. Infants are very attuned to their hunger and fullness; once they are full they will not eat anymore. By the age of 5 years old, we have learned either by consumption norms, genetic predispositions or emotional eating to ignore our body’s cues of hunger and fullness. My suggestion this holiday season is to pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you are no longer hungry stop eating and if you find yourself aimlessly snacking, ask your self why you are eating. At holiday parties focus on the company and conversation and choose not to focus on the food, and don’t stand near the food, this will help with the temptations.
*An interesting fact-our hunger and portions tend to be more out of control when we are “dieting” or restricting calories. Why, because this is the bodies way or self–preservation. Just another reason why “diets and caloric restriction diets DO NOT work in the long term.
When food is visible, we tend to eat more than double what we would eat if the food were either not visible or more than 6 feet away (we have to get up to get more). One way to make chocolates or candies less tempting is by not putting them in dishes around your house or at work. In fact, move them to where you can’t see them or to your coworker’s desk. Out of sight, out of mind. If you are at a party and there is a food buffet, choose a smaller plate and fill up on fruits/veggies first.
Alcohol reduces inhibitions and therefore we tend to eat more when drinking. Plus, alcohol provides nutrient void calories. If you choose to drink, eat healthy foods first so you are less likely to overeat and overdrink. Prioritize what is important and make good decisions.
We all have our special holiday foods that we look forward to all year long. There is nothing wrong with that. If you can’t live without pumpkin pie, then by all means, have your piece of pumpkin pie but give up the chocolates, chips and dip and all the indulgences in place of your special holiday treat. It will make your treat even more special and you won’t have the additional unneeded calories.
Thanksgiving, Hanukah and Christmas are just one day however this holiday season goes on for a good 6 weeks. Allow yourself indulgences on those special occasions and choose wisely the rest of the time. Remember, is it what we do 80% of the time that makes the difference, so we can allow some flexibility 20% of the time.
Happy Holidays and Bon Appetite!