Holidays survival without weight gain can be very difficult. During the days between Thanksgiving and the new year, many people relax their usual dieting standards in favor of holiday treats, reversing all of their good results from summer exercise. In the cold winter months, many Americans gain up to 10 pounds. But, there are many ways to fight the urge to stop exercising and start over-eating.
First, consumers could treat holiday shopping as exercise. Many malls open early during the winter months to allow patrons to arrive before the stores open and walk a few laps through the corridors. Showing up early and window shopping for one specific gift per day boosts metabolism. One could start now, and even get most of next year’s shopping done.
All that walking, though, could easily be sabotaged by eating at the food court. Patrons are advised to be careful. Many restaurants now post their menus online. It includes the calorie-count and the ingredients in each meal and drink. Staying away from any heavy white sauces and breaded dishes, which are too calorie-dense, helps. Also, sugary fat-laden condiments add at least 100 calories to any dish. Fried foods are a choice at almost every stop and should be avoided entirely. Ironically, they are usually the most poorly tasting option making them the least satisfying yet most calorie-costly choice. Eating an avocado or some almonds and cashews will satisfy the craving for fried food and do so without the saturated fat. Another option is to find out if any establishments fry their food in coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. It is a much healthier oil and contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats instead.
Hydration is another holiday pitfall. Merrymakers may never survive the holidays without weight gain if they do not drink lots of water between the larger meals and when they are out and about. Other beverages should be carefully navigated. Drinking alcohol is sometimes hard to manage over the holidays. If avoiding it altogether is not an option, low calorie options should be chosen. At about 130 calories per 5-ounce glass, wine is an excellent complement to any meal. Adding club soda helps reduce the calories even more. The idea is to create the satisfying taste and keep the festive feeling over the holidays. Carbonated drinks not only add tons of sugar to a meal, but also usually contain caffeine. This is dehydrating and causes more sugar cravings creating a vicious sugar-eating-cycle that can pack on the pounds.
There are also other activities that do not surround eating and drinking that can be incorporated into a holiday tradition. A sports tournament is a great way to burn calories while enjoying the holiday season. A couple of family basketball games or touch football games before the big feasts could make a significant difference by January. These simple steps are easy to do and make a huge difference. Being mindful of caloric intake, as well as getting exercise, is all that is needed for holidays survival without weight gain.
By Cat Doe
Photo by Els – Flickr License