The holidays are in full swing and with Christmas just around the corner, you can still enjoy the holidays especially all the food offerings without breaking the scale. Many people don’t think about what they eat over the holiday season and when January 1st comes, they either start the latest fad diet or spend countless hours in the gym to work off the extra pounds they’ve gained.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
You can still enjoy the holidays, enjoy some of your favourite foods without packing on the pounds. There are different degrees of indulgence and if you want to keep your weight in check, use these tips to help keep the weight off while enjoying some of your favourite foods.
1.Work the Room at a Party
Be mindful of where you sit at a party. If you plant yourself right next to the table with all the high fat, salty foods, you will be shoveling food down your throat all night. Stay away from the food tables in every room as much as possible. Instead, talk to as many people as you can. If hors d’oeuvres are being offered, remember that most of them are very high in calories (especially cheese snacks – very high in saturated fat), so indulge in one or two. A tip I give to many is to keep a glass of water in your hand as it’s hard to eat food while holding on to a glass at the same time. This will save you tons of calories being consumed.
2. Pack Your Snacks & Meals
Another pitfall is holiday shopping at the mall and high-fat food options in the food court. You’ve been shopping for hours with no food and your options for eating healthy at the mall are next to slim. It’s ok to sit in the food court seating and eat your own healthy lunch or snack. The people looking at you are not judging you, in fact, they wish they’d thought of the same thing. The high fat and caloric intake of food options in the food court can pack on the calories instantly. Instead, carry with you in your car, some fresh fruit, a salad, a healthy wrap, some trail mix, and even some hummus and vegetables. Not only with you save money, but calories.
Remember: It only takes a few minutes to eat 1,000 calories but it can take days to burn it off.
3. Downsize Your Dishware
Unless you are consuming whole and plant-based foods, the calories can be packed on from the big meal in no time. If you are going to more than one holiday meal, you can imagine how many calories you can consume in a short amount of time. Downsize your plate to trick your brain into thinking you are eating more. The average calories someone consumes at a holiday dinner is a shocking 3,000, and that doesn’t count pre-dinner snacking or dessert. Try using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. Also, downsize your glasses so you don’t consume too many liquid calories. It’s more difficult to exercise portion control when you’re pouring into a large glass. Instead of drinking out of pint glasses for beer, use smaller juice glasses, and stay away from oversized wine glasses.
4. Eat Regularly
Are you one of those people who starve themselves all day in anticipation for the big meal or holiday party? This type of binge eating can play havoc on your metabolism. First of all, you when you get to the dinner table or party, you will be starving and will eat everything and anything in sight. Willpower does not work! Instead, consume some low-fat, nutrient dense snacks throughout the day. By doing this, you’ll be less likely to over-indulge when you arrive for the ‘big meal’.
5. Choose Your Food Wisely
Many people don’t follow a whole foods and plant-based lifestyle. This is not a diet but rather a way of consuming as many nutrient dense foods that help you manage your weight but also help you live a longer, healthier life, and provide you with more energy. These foods are low in fat, high in energy, contain no refined sugar, additives, preservatives, but most of all are the most highly nutrient dense foods on the planet. Foods that can be found in your local grocery store.
If you choose to indulge and don’t want to give up some of your holiday favourites, then your first buffet picks are the most important. Research suggests that you’ll consume the largest quantity of the foods you eat first, so set yourself up for success by starting with something low-calorie like vegetables, legumes, and even some sweet potatoes. Be careful of the salads you choose and avoid the oil (one of the highest fatty foods that contains no nutrients) as every tablespoon you add to your salad can add up in calories very quickly. Instead try a little balsamic or apple cider vinegar for taste. Try fresh veggies and hummus over chips and creamy dip. Watch out for the toppings you put on your potatoes such as butter and gravy and instead try salsa or even a mushroom vegetable gravy.
Instead of eating two or three plates, leave the leftovers to eat on the following days. As for dessert, if you have a sweet tooth, try a date recipe which will not only provide you with that sugar kick but provide you with some essential vitamins and nutrients at the same time. If you want to sample more than one dessert, then consume smaller quantities allowing you to satisfy your cravings without overloading on the calories.
Tip: There are three main components to energy expenditure. One is our is basal metabolic rate, the second is the energy to break down our food, and the third is energy that is used during physical exercise. We have no control over our basal metabolic rate and this is the largest energy user. The amount of energy required to digest food and used during physical exercise is much less. It is estimated that our basal metabolic rate is responsible for about 60-80% of our total energy expenditure and about 10% for digesting food. So this leaves about a 10-30% expenditure for physical exercise which is not a lot. If you work out hard and for long and then replace it with high fat, high caloric food, you are basically cancelling out all the hard work you just did. The type of food you consume is so important in weight loss, not the amount of exercise.
Eat Clean & Live Green!
Your Compassionate Coach,