It’s holiday time, and with the family gatherings, the mistletoe and hot toddies come temptations to eat and drink to excess. We all look forward to the festivities, but if you’re not careful, those joyous holiday gatherings can be diet disasters waiting to happen. Here’s a plan of action that makes it easy to enjoy the get-togethers and goodies without piling on the pounds.
1. Make Time to Move
- Schedule in a workout – for everybody. Suggest a new family holiday tradition: taking a walk together after your holiday meal to burn some calories and “make room” for dessert. Or crank up the iPod and get everybody dancing down the “Soul Train” line. Combining family time with exercise will give you a chance to bond and give you a break from the holiday fuss. Build snowmen, shoot some hoops, go ice skating, even rake up some leaves.
- Dust off your home gym. You may be too busy to get to the gym, but you can work that stationery bike or treadmill while watching the morning news.
- If you’re traveling, take your workout with you. Pack light stretch bands and a favorite exercise DVD and put them to use!
2. Don’t Skip Healthy Snacks and Meals Before Parties
Starving yourself before you go out won’t help you mind your portions. If you step up to a buffet and you’re famished, chances are you’re going to eat too much. Make sure to eat a light but satisfying midday lunch, and before you head for the party, take the edge off your hunger with a snack like a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit.
3. Only Eat What You Really Like
Be a food snob! You don’t have to sample everything on the buffet. If you don't love something, don’t even bother tasting it. Check out the spread for foods and flavors you adore and skip what you can have anytime. Indulge in your holiday favorites, then find a seat, take your time, and savor every mouthful.
4. Choose Wine Over Mixed Drinks
Wine has substantially fewer calories compared with other alcoholic beverages. Wine weighs in at about 125 calories, as opposed to vodka and tonic (165 calories) or eggnog (320 calories).
5. Alternate Alcohol With Water
Since alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories, try alternating each drink with water or seltzer. You’ll save calories - and stay grounded!
6. Get Enough Sleep
With all the shopping, the cooking and taking care of guests, sleep gets shoved to the back burner. A lack of shut-eye can do more than compromise your skin and appearance. It has been linked with a higher incidence of obesity, hypertension, and other metabolic disorders. Sleep-deprived folks also exhibit higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.
7. Socialize Instead of Eating
Don’t stand around the food table when you’re at a party. Focus your energy on spending time with family and friends instead of raiding the buffet and bar!
8. Bring your own dish
I have a friend who is allergic to wheat and dairy. If she eats just a bit of cheese or bread she ends up in digestive despair. Whenever we go to a dinner party, she brings her own dish. She even brings a plastic sandwich bag to restaurants with rice crackers or rice bread. If you bring your own food, you’ll have just what you need to indulge worry-free.