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7 Ways NOT to Gain Weight During the Holiday Season

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Don’t you just love this time of year? The holiday music playing in your ear, children anticipating the coming of Santa, that sweet potato pie, those chocolate chip  Holiday weight gaincookies or how about the stuffing and glazed biscuits? Uh oh, I think we ran into a dilemma! I can bet we all can handle our favorite Christmas tunes or mommy kissing Santa, but it’s those delicious foods that we find it difficult to resist!  Before it’s all said and done, some of our stomachs wind up looking like the man in reds! But before we call Rudolph, let’s see if we can avoid that big, round tummy! Yes, it is possible and I have just the tips you need to keep you looking your holiday best!

1) Please stop stressing! I know you have in-laws coming in from out of town that you wish would just stay home! I know your not that excited about cooking a huge dinner on Thanksgiving or Christmas: What if you burn the turkey? Also, I know you’re not anticipating the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers! You know the ones who bring road rage in the mall! While it’s so easy to get overwhelmed during this time of year, try to not let it affect your eating habits. People who tend to stress during the holidays tend to munch a little longer and a little more frequently on the wrong foods. There is nothing wrong with breaking up those three big meals and eating some small healthy snacks! When you find that you are stressed, do something more productive than chomping on a bag of chips: read a book, take a stroll in park or finish up that scrapbook or photo album.

2) This tip is one of my favorites and trust me, it really works! I use this tip all year round. What is it? Packing a healthy snack with you as you go out and do that time-consuming gift shopping. You know how it is, you spend all day at the mall and when that hunger strikes, you smell Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Chick-Fila, McDonalds, you name it the food court has it! But the food court may be your worst enemy, because it’s so tempting to make an unhealthy decision—everything looks and smells so good! To avoid these mouth-watering temptations, pack in your purse/bag Cheerios, a cup of fruit or crackers. If you eat one of your healthy snacks when hunger pains kick in, you’ll find that it’s easier to say no to the cinnabun or curly fries. Put it this way, you never want to shop in the mall starving, you’ll wind up indulging on the most fatty foods!

3) It’s not just the cookies, cakes and turkey that can have you weighing down the scale, but yes holiday drinks pack on the pounds too! It’s especially hard to resist the creamy and satisfying taste of eggnog or the mocha latte or the hot chocolate with extra whip cream on top! Mmm sounds good, just thinking about it, but I think I prefer a slim waistline better. So here’s what you do: instead of all of those creamy and extra this or that options, why not drink a low-fat eggnog or a small coffee without the cinnamon added. (Portion size is key!) But let’s say that the only option at the party you’re attending offers high-calorie drinks? Don’t worry, just take a little bit and move on. A little doesn’t hurt, but a lot can pop the button off those skinny leg jeans!

4) Okay, so this week is Thanksgiving, which I know will be filled with all of my food temptations. But guess what, I will win, I may be tempted, but I won’t give in. Here’s my secret: I’m ready for turkey dinner or baked ham, mashed potatoes, chocolate chip cookies and pound cake. How? Well, I plan ahead! When I wake up, I will eat my trusty whole grain shredded wheat cereal and a banana. I will then do about 20 minutes of cardio mixed with about 15 min of weight training. Then for lunch, I will have some oatmeal and before you know it will be dinnertime! But about an hour before I go to the party, I make sure that I am not starving! If you are starving before you go to a holiday party, you may eat more than that little black dress allows. So I’ll eat low-fat yogurt with fruit, so that way, I eat sensibly when I arrive at the party!

5) This tip may sound like some of the previous tips but it’s worth delving into a bit more. You need to understand that it’s okay to eat some of your favorite foods during the holidays, as a matter of fact you should! You do want to enjoy the season and a major component of it is the goodies! So have your sugar cookie or a slice of that cake, trust me its okay! But what you want to make sure is that you watch your portions. If you just ate a huge dinner, why eat a gigantic slice of fruitcake? Just because it has fruit in it, doesn’t mean it’s healthy! So it’s important that you try to eat smaller portions so that you can enjoy a cup of eggnog every now and then.

6) Here’s a good one! Chances are if you are invited to a holiday party, you will have to socialize, right? Right. So instead of talking around the desert buffet where the chocolate chip cookies are screaming your name, why not socialize in a different area of the room! You can be your worst enemy if you allow yourself to go down that food path of destruction. Take for example myself. If you haven’t noticed yet, I mentioned chocolate chip cookies maybe about two or three times, so clearly chocolate chip cookies are sort of my weakness. I cannot socialize around a tray of those soft-baked chocolaty deliciousness! I’ll go crazy, I may eat the whole batch! Case point: Don’t tempt yourself because you may lose the battle.

7) I know I hate to say it, but it is the final tip and it is the most important! You must exercise! I know your schedules are crazy, your kids are driving you up the wall and your stress level is at its peak! But the only guaranteed way to keep you at a healthy weight is by having a daily exercise regime. Plus exercising reduces stress levels. Look at it this way; it’s a well known fact that people eat more during this time of year and consequently gain weight. But if you add some cardio/weight training to your schedule, you will reduce your chances of gaining five, ten or even fifteen pounds! It doesn’t matter what you do, so enjoy walking on your days off, schedule time to roller blade or even go ice-skating with the family, just get that workout in! You’ll be glad you did when bikini season rolls around!

At the end of the day, what you need to remember is portion control, planning ahead and exercising! If you use these tips you will not have to buy a whole new wardrobe two sizes larger in February. But remember to enjoy this holiday season and all that it brings. Hey, it may bring a pound or two and if it does, don’t sweat it, just get back on the plan! “Tis the season to be jolly!”

photos: www.psychologytoday.com

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