Holidays provide a good excuse for overindulgence for more than a 60 day period of time to many women. A new study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that extra weight gained during the holidays accumulates through the years and may be a major contributor to obesity in later life.
Many of these holiday goodies pose a direct challenge to the healthy eating plan that you have tried to adhere to for the last eleven months. Whether you are at home, a friend’s house or at the office holiday party, the temptation to overeat is lurking at nearly every table you pass.
According to recent research by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the average weight gain is approximately one pound.
These findings suggest that developing ways to avoid holiday weight gain may be extremely important for preventing obesity and the diseases associated with it.
Trimming down the calories :
Many traditional holiday foods are loaded with fat and calories. This doesn’t mean that all of your favorite foods are off limits. Look for ways to make them healthier, by trimming some of their fat and calories.
Check out some simple ways slow down fat consumption from holiday foods:
- Begin your day with a substantial breakfast that includes protein.Protein takes longer to digest and helps you to feel full for much longer.
- Never arrive to a party on an empty stomach. Eat a small salad or other low-fat snack before leaving. This will help you from overeating at the buffet table once you are at the party.
- Sugar cravings is on the rise around this time making you consume more sugary carbohydrates, which makes you crave more sugar. To avoid this vicious carbohydrate craving cycle, eat foods that are low on the glycemic index. By consuming only complex carbohydrates, the cravings will disappear and satiety levels will rise.
- The extra demands at this time of year can be very taxing and those time crunches make it easy to grab for the wrong foods. Keeping a well-stocked pantry with favorite protein bars, MRPs and whey protein provide sound nutritional choices when time is short.
- Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Always have food with your drink. Avoid drinking in excess as well, as alcohol has a tendency to loosen inhibitions, which may encourage you to overeat
- Aim at eating skinless white-meat turkey instead of dark meat.
- Above all try to maintain a nutrition journal where you write everything down. Most of you will be surprised at how quickly those little tastes and bites add up to an extra 500-1000 calories per day. Three holiday cookies each day for a week equals 1.5 extra pounds. Think about how hard you’ll need to work in January to get those extra pounds off. Is the cookie really worth the effort?
The holidays are not an ideal time to try to start a diet. Rather, your goal should be to maintain your weight during this time frame. If you should decide to indulge in a piece of chocolate fudge or some other decadent dessert, don’t berate yourself. Simply cut back on calories elsewhere during the rest of the day or spend a few extra minutes on the treadmill during your workout routine.
Try to Strike a balance- Dietitians suggest that for every day of splurging, you need to figure on 2 days of careful eating. So, if you eat too many sweets at your office’s holiday party, just eat carefully for the next couple of days.
Cooking tips :
- Cut the fat and calories in gravy by passing it through a skimmer before serving.
- Cook the stuffing outside the turkey. It contains fewer calories and fat than stuffing cooked inside the bird and reduces the risk of bacteria contamination.
- Serve some items that are very low in calories and fat, such as a fresh fruit salad or steamed vegetables topped with lemon juice and herbs.
- Substitute baked potatoes instead of candied yams.
- Top vegetables with light margarine or reduced-fat sour cream instead of butter.
- Serve an apple pie topped with fat free frozen yogurt instead of pecan pie.
- If you will be eating sandwiches, use mustard instead of mayonnaise.
- Serve pretzels and low-fat snack mixes instead of potato chips.
Use exercise To Relieve Stress:
Extra shopping and holiday social events will strain an already overloaded schedule. Indulge yourself with stress-free time where the focus is on your workout. Your workout and/or cardio session will release endorphins that are a natural mood elevator. Malls are wonderful places to walk, out of the elements and climate controlled. If time is limited try to park as far from your stop as you can.
Besides, the gyms are quiet at this time of year so you will be able to get in and out quickly. Make the most of this period of uninterrupted solitude and focus on creating a legendary physique for the spring season.
Follow these simple tips through this holiday season, and start the New Year without the gift of unwanted pounds. Remember, Sticking to a solid nutrition and exercise program enhances mood, reduces stress and improves overall health.