Tis the season for over indulging!!! I LOVE the holidays. But I am in the weight loss business, so I'm constantly coaching others about losing this time of year and avoiding the typical 8-10lb gain. All the sweet, carb-filled holiday treats can sometimes add stress to your celebrations, am I right?! I’d like to share with you how to enjoy all the foods of the season while still staying true to your weight-loss goals.
Keep things in perspective! Seeing your friends and family at these holiday gatherings is a great reminder that the holidays are about so much more than the food. It's really NOT about the food, unless we make it that way. When you focus on what really matters, it’s not so hard to let a treat or two pass you by.
In fact, there’s no reason you can’t successfully lose weight (or at least maintain your weight) during the holidays. Trust me, my girls and I in the Holiday Survival Bootcamp are DOING it! But it helps to have the right mindset — and a plan — for getting through holiday meals and parties keeping your weight-loss goals intact.
6 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain:
1. Eat a filling breakfast and lunch
Don’t starve yourself before the big meal! You may think you’re “saving up calories,” but the hungrier you are when you arrive, the more likely you are to make poor food choices and wind up eating more than you might have otherwise.
Start the day with a healthy, satisfying breakfast (you know my go-to is Chocolate Superfoods right?!) and a reasonable lunch, so you won’t be ravenous by the time the holiday meal is served.
2. Avoid “grazing” before and after the meal
Hors d’oeuvres, snacks, cocktails, and even desserts are often passed around before and after the meal for guests to “graze” on. Are we serious with that?! LOL. To avoid overindulging, tell yourself that you will taste ONE appetizer and have a cocktail. Then, once dinner is over and you get up and leave the table, move on to other activities, such as chatting with your aunts or playing with the kids. I tell my clients — “Dinner and done… find other fun!”
3. Prioritize your treats
We all look forward to treating ourselves during the holidays, but you don't need to try ALL of them.
When I’m at a holiday party, I scan the entire table of food first and then choose the ONE (sometimes two) that I want the most — the ones that are most likely to make the night feel extra-special. Just a taste is enough!
4. How do you want to feel as you’re leaving?
Before even arriving at the party, imagine how you want to feel when it’s time to leave. Stuffed like a turkey? Or happy, satisfied, and proud of yourself for keeping your goals on track? Maybe you want to feel hydrated knowing your plan is to get extra water in instead of extra alcohol.
You’ll be amazed at how powerful this mental exercise can be in allowing you to enjoy the gathering to the fullest without overindulging.
5. Be active
Get your workout in before you go. Then if the weather cooperates, get outdoors with the family! Family football game, anyone?!
6. Incorporate healthy food swaps
If I’m hosting the party — or even contributing a dish for the table — I like to share traditional dishes made using healthy food swaps designed to be every bit as good as the originals.
Greek yogurt makes a creamy stand-in for mayo in dressings and pasta salads. Mashed cauliflower rather than potatoes for a healthy swap that still tastes delicious (for the skeptics, try half-and-half cauliflower and potatoes). “Noodles” made with veggies are another big hit in our house. My husband even likes it, praise the Lord!
And for dessert, fruit salad or a little ice cream with fresh strawberries is better than a cake!
Most of all, be sure to stay positive! If things don’t go exactly as planned, don’t beat yourself up. Just stay focused on your goal and the weight loss will follow. There are plenty of weight-loss days ahead! Meanwhile, I want to wish you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.