Healthy Holiday Habits

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With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations all happening back to back, it can be tough to avoid holiday treats and savory dinners in November and December. But just because the temptation is there, doesn’t necessarily mean the numbers on the scale have to change.
Follow the five trim tips below to help you enjoy those special holiday treats and maintain your weight too.

Trim Tip #1 – Plan ahead.

One of the main reasons people gain weight over the holidays is due to a lack of planning.

“What I find is that my patients are not really planning accordingly, so they are caught off guard,” said Stephanie Wright, weight loss coach at Wyndhurst Medical Aesthetics and Hormone Clinic. “They have all these different events to go to that have indulgences.”

If you are attending a potluck-style party, Wright recommends bringing something that is healthy, such as a veggie tray, deviled eggs, or baked goods made with protein powders. This ensures that there will be a healthy option for you.

Also, anticipating the events where you might choose to indulge will help you plan your week.

“If you know you have five get-togethers in one week, you want to be really mindful of that,” Wright said.

Even when you are out, try to fill up on vegetables, appetizers and side dishes, because they are often lower in calories than main dishes.

Trim Tip #2 – Remove extra temptations.

“Try to keep indulgent food out of your environment,” Wright said. “You can’t really control it at a party, but you can control what’s at your desk environment at work and what’s in your home.”

For example, she says you should avoid bringing home leftovers, cookies, cakes, and other sweets from parties or get-togethers.

“You’re going to have plenty of opportunities to enjoy those things at parties and special events,” she said. “You don’t need to be tempted within your daily scheme on top of those things.”

Trim Tip #3 – Don’t become famished.

If you let yourself get to the point that you are very hungry, you will most likely overeat. Try to eat a small meal before you go to a party or before a large meal such as Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

“Stay hydrated,” Wright said. “Keep drinking your water; that keeps you feeling full.”

If you are going to an event, drink a glass or two of water before you go, that way you do not feel as hungry and overindulge.

“Hot beverages do the same thing,” she continued. “So if you’re at a restaurant and you order a hot beverage like hot tea, it helps you to not feel as hungry.”

Trim Tip #4 – Focus on small and slow.

Another way to prevent overeating is to use a smaller plate,
such as a salad or dessert plate. This has proven to cut down your calorie intake significantly. Eating slowly will also give your body the opportunity to feel full.

“Studies have shown that if you take 30 minutes to eat, versus 10 minutes to eat, you’re going to save yourself at least 70 calories per meal,” Wright said. “And that adds up during the holidays.”

Also, when you eat slowly, you are typically more mindful of what you are consuming.

“It takes about 20 minutes for you to really feel what you ate,” Wright said. “So if you eat within 10 minutes you’re not going to feel full and you might keep eating more and more.”

Take time to enjoy your food, and not rush.

Trim Tip #5 – Maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

Try to stay consistent with eating healthy at home and stay active. If you are staying on track day-to-day, you do not need to be quite as careful at a gathering.

Staying active through the holiday season will help decrease the risk of weight gain as well. Accountability is key, so signing up for a fitness class or event will help you stay active. Also, an event such as the Turkey Trot for HumanKind on November 23 is a great choice that can help you keep your focus.

“[That race] is a great thing to sign up for,” Wright said. “You have to train for it and it gives you an opportunity to burn calories before your meal.”

Wright reiterates, it’s okay to allow yourself to indulge, just don’t overindulge the entire holiday season.

“Don’t think of it as just a ‘I can have whatever I want’ . . . but it is holiday time. [So] enjoy it, enjoy the socialization,” Wright explained. “I think it’s also a healthy perspective of food, that we’re not afraid to do that.”

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