Saturday, November 15, 2008

Holiday Weight Gain - Here's Some Ways to Avoid It

I've decided to avoid holiday weight gain this year, despite the fact that I love that holiday fudge and cookies and I love to cook during the holidays too. There are some tips to help avoid holiday weight gain though and I'm going to follow them this year.

To avoid holiday weight gain, pace yourself and practice moderation.

High calorie egg nog, special cake and cookie recipes – the holiday temptations never seem to end. However to avoid weight gain, you can pace yourself. Don’t deny yourself a treat, but learn to stop at one piece of fudge or have a half a glass of egg nog.

If you know you have a holiday party or gathering in the evening, eat lightly the rest of the day.

Head over to the buffet table and check out the low calorie foods.

Cake and cookies are holiday treats but chances are there are some veggie trays too. If you fill up on veggies or low calories fruits, you’ll be too full for sweets. If you’d like to try some dips, veggies are better than chips in the calorie department. Lean meats and salads are also ways to avoid that weight gain.

Watch the high calorie alcohol.

Alcohol contains many empty calories and after a couple drinks the best of intentions to cut back on high calorie foods may go out the window.

Bring your own healthy snacks and dishes to gatherings

In my family, I’m always the one in charge of bringing the veggie tray and hummus dip. If you’re having a party or gathering, look up some low cal party recipes ideas like a fruit plate and low calorie yogurt dip. Others in the group may also be watching their weight and they’ll love these more healthy additions to the regular holiday calorie fest.

When cooking look for low calorie substitutions, such as 1% milk for whipping up mashed potatoes instead of cream and a healthy butter substitute instead of real butter.

If your office is overwhelmed with holiday treats, bring your own healthy snacks so you won’t be tempted. Better yet, bring some to share.

If you feel lonely or depressed during holiday times, find a charity that needs your help. Volunteer opportunities abound during the holidays. Help serve Christmas dinner to the homeless or collect gifts for foster children. You won't have time for over-eating.

Avoid Holiday Stress by Getting Enough Sleep and Exercise

Don’t forget the basics during the holiday season like getting plenty of sleep and exercising at least 30 minutes a day. Even though the holiday season is a busy time, stress often leads to holiday weight gain as we eat for energy.

If weather is bad and you can’t get out for a brisk walk put on music and dance or use an exercise video. Exercise not only helps you handle holiday stress, it helps you burn those holiday calories.

Other ways to relax to avoid stress and weight gain during the holidays

* Practice deep breathing

* Do yoga to a CD or video

* Try these other great relaxation tips

Weigh Yourself Each Morning

Studies show that those who weigh themselves daily lose more weight than those who weigh themselves weekly. Don't tell yourself you'll skip the weigh-in until January or you might be shocked with the holiday weight gain numbers.

The holiday season is full of family dinners and social celebrations which revolve around goodies with lots of calories. Remember, the holidays are about family and friends, not just food.

Combine the round of parties with special holiday recipes and the cold, winter weather that keeps people from their exercise program, it’s possible to gain as much as 10 pounds by January. However, by following these tips to avoid holiday weight gain, you can start the New Year with your weight in check.

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