It’s easy to see the holidays as a free pass when it comes to eating. After all, when you are careful most of the time it’s tempting to want to blow off some steam in the name of celebrating by eating and drinking too much. While it’s okay to splurge once in a while, in order to not lose ground with healthy eating habits it’s best to temper the splurge by staying conscious of the choices you make at holiday gatherings. Below are some tips to keep you on track this holiday season.
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January 2017, Day/Time to be announced
First topic: Dietary management and carbohydrate counting
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Keep the focus on healthy foods at holiday meals
At holiday parties, people tend to gather in the kitchen or around the table with eating as the main feature. If you are hosting a party, redirect the gathering spot to somewhere else — the living room where games are played or music is shared, or outside where families can play in the snow or take a walk around the block.
“Hanging around the table or in the kitchen surrounded by food promotes lots of nibbling. Try focusing on interacting with people and engaging in activities instead,” said Carol Bolt, PA with The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic.
When it comes to the meal, be choosy. Load your plate with healthy foods first.
“I advise people to eat a snack before they arrive so they don’t come famished and to drink a lot of water before the meal. Also, limit your meal to a single serving and avoid going back for seconds,” Bolt said.
If you want to have a piece of pie, go for it. Just be mindful to forego other starches, like mashed potatoes or rolls. Other tips include choosing a small plate, if possible, eating slowly, selecting a smaller glass for your drinks, letting family and friends know your goals to eat healthy and sitting next to a healthy eater.
“If someone is eating healthy next to you, you’re not going to want to mound up your plate,” Bolt said.
Avoid skipping meals so you can binge at the party
Skipping meals, holiday or not, is a poor way to control your weight. It tends to set you up to eat more as you are famished by the time you eat, and it actually slows your metabolism making you burn less calories when you finally do eat.
“It’s like going into the grocery store when you are hungry. You always grab extra things,” Bolt said.
If you do overindulge, let it go then get back on track
Losing weight is always harder than putting it on. When you blow your plan you are taking a step backwards, which happens. Resigning to the fact that you messed up and seeing it as an uncontrollable downward spiral is another. Bolt tells of patients who have worked hard to lose weight and then gain back over half of what they lost over the holidays.
“If you make a mistake, don’t let it be the start of a pattern. It’s easy to think, ‘I messed up so I might as well keep going.’ Try to think about how much progress you’ve made and how hard you’ve worked to maintain a healthy weight and ask yourself if it’s worth giving all that up,” Bolt said.
Forgive yourself, then get back on track. Maintaining healthy habits will be sweeter than candy canes once the holidays end.