Everyone knows the holiday season means friends and family, but more importantly, it means sinful foods that you only get once per year! Delicious hot chocolate with mountains of marshmallows, pie, brownies, freshly baked bread, cheesy sides and a variety of other dishes will likely cross your plate, and that can mean a lot of weight gain.
And while you could certainly start the new year working out more often to drop that extra weight, what if you could simply avoid gaining it in the first place?
There are a lot of things you can do to stay fit during the holidays, and that can mean being able to enjoy yourself without the guilt! If you want to keep your jeans on and avoid those sweat pants, then take a look at the useful information below.
1. Choose Your Drinks Wisely
Sure eggnog and brandy tastes great, but did you know that is going to cost you over 200 calories PER GLASS!? Instead of drinking the night away with this as your “holiday drink”, try opting for other drinks throughout the night. Of course you can still have that one brandy and eggnog, but switch to vodka and diet soda or a wine spritzer for the rest of the night. Drink water in between each drink to stay hydrated, and you’ll cut down on a lot of calories.
2. Bring a Healthy Snack to Parties
You’ll likely be going to a lot of holiday parties over the course of the next couple of months, and if you don’t have a healthy dish to snack on, you’re going to snack on anything that’s in front of you. Whenever you go to a party, bring with you a veggie tray with low fat dips, or something that’s low in calories and high in fiber. You’ll fill up faster with this type of snack, and you won’t eat as much of the unhealthy dishes.
3. Exercise in the Morning
Let’s face it; after you’ve had a few cookies and a nice big meal, the last thing you’ll want to do is go to the gym. So, avoid this inner-battle with yourself and just workout in the morning! You don’t have to do anything extreme, as going for a walk or going to your local swim center can help you burn the calories quite easily. You’ll be ahead of the game if you take the time to do this in the morning, and you’ll ramp up your metabolism as well.
4. Prepare Your Partner
If you have a close family member or spouse that you spend a lot of time with during the holidays, then enlist them in the weight gain battle. Make sure they keep you accountable for what you’re eating, and keep them accountable as well. It can help a lot just to have someone on your side, especially when that second helping of cheesy potato gratin is calling your name.
5. Drink More Water
By drinking a glass of water before every meal and throughout the day, you’ll be filling your stomach with 0 calories! This will help you eat less because you’ll feel full a lot sooner than you would otherwise. If you’re not a fan of water, then try adding some lemon or other fruit infusions to it. Try to avoid the soda because that will actually help your stomach expand, which means being able to eat even more than you would otherwise!
6. Learn to Fill Your Plate the Right Way
When you go to fill your plate at your holiday dinners, go for the vegetables first. Fill the majority of your plate with those, and then head over to the meats. After that you’ll just have a little bit of room left for the carbohydrates, so you’ll naturally eat fewer of them. You can go back for seconds if you really need to, but chances are you’ll eat less because you’ll be full from the fiber that’s naturally found in vegetables.
7. Balance Your Days
You’re not going to eat a holiday meal or go to a holiday party every day of the week, so you have to stay balanced when you’re not doing those things. Count your calories during the week, work out and try to cut down on the carbohydrates. You might be surprised at how well this works, even if you do have days where you go to a party and eat a lot of desserts or other dishes. By balancing out your week you’ll be able to afford those high-calorie days because you had several that were low in calories.
8. Choose Clothing that Isn’t Stretchy
Those yoga pants or other stretchy pants you have can be mighty forgiving, and might just make you forget that you’ve been eating more than normal. Try and wear jeans as often as you can, and not jeans that have a lot of stretch to them. Once they start getting tight you’ll realize you need to cut down, and this can help keep your weight in check. Yes there are days (like Thanksgiving) where you might NEED to wear those yoga pants, but otherwise it’s best to stay in clothes that don’t let you gain weight without noticing.
9. Count Calories
If you have trouble staying accountable, then count your calories! You can do this the old fashioned way by writing down what you eat, or you could download an app like MyFitnessPal. This will show you exactly the amount of calories that you eat, but will also display fat, sugar, carbohydrates and other nutrition information that you need to know.
10. Try New Recipes
Just because your family’s tradition of mashed potatoes made with 3 sticks of butter and a quart of cream is delicious doesn’t mean there aren’t other recipes that can be just as good! There are hundreds of recipes out there to choose from, and they are easier than ever to find if you just look online. Try the lower calorie options and you might find one that you like even better than the traditional recipe that you’re used to!
While the holiday “weight creep” might have been something you battled last year, it doesn’t have to be that way any longer! Use these tips and you may be able to stay in shape without going up a dress size. It won’t be easy, but once you commit yourself you’ll find that it’s worth it to balance your diet and achieve your goals.