Hopefully, you haven’t done too much damage from yesterday’s big feasting day.
Let’s face it, as much as I believe that you deserve to enjoy the holidays and celebrate with some sort of abandon, food-wise; most of you want to find ways to avoid the guilt and “work” that comes with too much weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
I thought of these 5 tips, based on what I’ve routinely done through the holidays since I’ve been living in the US. Year after year, it seems Americans routinely increase their unwanted weight gain. There’s a way to successfully approach this dilemma.
Most of you reading this are already on regular fitness schedules, so the advice below is geared toward ensuring that you’re not thrown off-track too much. This information is useful for any period where you dread weight-gain “landmines” due to other holidays or special-event weekends.
1. Save your calories for the main event
For example, yesterday, I ate smaller meals from breakfast onward, knowing I’d eat a bit more at dinnertime. This way, my metabolism stayed consistent, but I was allowed some extra “elbow room” for more calorie consumption at dinner time. This allowed for extra servings of stuffing or pumpkin pie, and guilt-free, at that!
2. During your regularly scheduled workouts, tack on an additional 10-15 minutes of high-intensity work.
At the right intensity level, this can mean at least an extra 100 calories burned, which adds up, depending on how often you work out in the week.
Based on the same concept, some of you can add an extra workout day, if you know your consumption will also be significant.
3. Be cognizant of the “mindless eating” that comes with being around family or social situations.
Let’s face it, most of us are emotional eaters that turn to chewing on food when faced with the stresses of being around family, or the joy/comfort of being among people we love.
Before you approach the kitchen table for that first nibble, take a moment to reflect on the food before you. Remember your overall fitness regime; particularly if you’ve worked so hard to get to where you are.
You may deserve a reward for all your efforts, but no reward feels greater than knowing that you’ve found effective strategies for keeping yourself on track, despite the challenge of holidays.
4. If consuming alcohol, eating less food makes it easier to feel the effects.
Yes, I went there! I know we all sometimes require slight amounts of inebriation to deal with family or social situations, so I am addressing that fact.
Keeping your portions in check will require less alcohol / and overall less calories to feel the effects.
Now, I am not advocating that you consume alcohol on an empty stomach — that’s never a good idea, even if you may think it’s the “best” way to keep your calories in check. Having some food will help reduce the ill effects of the alcohol hitting your bloodstream too quickly.
*please, take this advice with the good intent under which it was written
5. Believe in the power of tasting versus DEVOURING the flavors of food.
I personally love the subtle nuances of food flavor and texture, particularly when prepared lovingly by masterful chefs/cooks. This is why I enjoy fine dining, and even in instances where the food is specially prepared with love from friends or family, tasting and savoring food in morsels, while enjoying great company and conversation, makes for a better experience than “scarfing down” huge portions while barely appreciating the food itself.
This tip typically goes with Tip #3; it’s easy to disregard the actual enjoyment of food when there are emotions involved that make the appreciation of the food a 2nd priority, over getting through the event.
Perhaps this year, try learning the strategies that can keep your emotional demons in check when dealing with social/family gatherings, so you can properly enjoy holidays and appreciate the food/libations that come with.
I hope these tips work for you; and should all else fail, there’s always New Year’s resolutions to look forward to!
Have a healthful holiday!