As Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are almost upon us, now is the time to focus on strategies to avoid packing on those extra pounds.
1. Track your food – The number one tip to losing and maintaining weight is keeping a daily food diary. Awareness of how much and what kinds of foods we are putting in our mouths go a long way in curbing the urge to binge.
2. Eat before you go – When we are hungry, it is easy to overeat and gorge ourselves. Eat a healthy meal before that holiday gathering and nibbling instead of stuffing just became easier.
3. Clothes matter – Wear slim fitting pants and tighten your belt for Thanksgiving dinner. You will be far less likely to stuff yourself if there isn’t excessive room for your tummy to expand.
4. Water as an appetizer – Fill up on 16 oz. of water before that holiday meal and you will have less room in your stomach for food. Plus, water aids with digestion and is so good for us!
5. Brush your teeth – Take a travel toothbrush and tooth paste to all your holiday gatherings. When you have reached your healthy limit of food, brush your teeth to help discourage any more grazing.
6. Choose wisely – To control excessive calorie intake, stick to larger portions of veggies and fruit and very small amounts of meats, breads, pasta and processed foods. Your stomach feels full by volume so fill up on the low-calorie offerings.
7. Don’t deprive – It’s not realistic to expect to get through the holiday season without indulging in some sweets but be smart. Take a two-bite portion size of dessert or a half of a cookie rather than eating a full size portion.
8. Beware of holiday cheer – A pumpkin mocha, eggnog and hot chocolate all contain extra fat and calories that may not be worth it. Alcoholic beverages also add calories, especially those made with sweet mixers and/or cream.
9. Don’t neglect exercise – During the rush and busyness, it’s tempting to let exercise slide but don’t give it up. Not only will it help to burn those extra holiday calories off, it is a great relief for the extra stresses of the season.
10. Good sleep – This is probably the most overlooked component to maintaining proper weight. Our bodies need about eight hours of good rest to replenish for the next day so make it a priority.
Striving for balance is key to maintaining good health. If you find yourself overindulging one day, don’t beat yourself up for it. Start fresh the next day and eat less to balance the two days out. Stick to your plan as best you can and remind yourself it is far easier to put weight on than it is to take it off.
Julie Tomsett is a published author and the office manager at GracePointe Healthcare; an affordable, direct-pay family practice and full service travel medicine clinic located in Cool Springs. www.gracepointehealthcare.com