8 Ways to Not Gain Weight Over the Holidays
‘Tis the season to eat … Between the holiday parties and the stress who can blame you for cheating on your diet. Weight loss coach Judy Weitzman offers eight sensible tips to avoid gaining weight over the holidays.
1. Are You Really Hungry? Is your stomach making embarrassing noises? To make sure you are really hungry, walk away from the kitchen, buffet table or wherever you’re dining. Think about what you are craving. After you identify it, wait 15 to 20 minutes. If you are still craving it and feel hungry, go for it. If you cannot identify what it was you were craving 15 minutes ago, then you probably were never hungry to begin with. You might be tired. Drink a glass of water. Then take a brisk walk, a power nap or a shower to wake up. This is one way to change how you react when you might just be over tired from all of the holiday preparations and hoopla.
2. Snack Attack. Mindless eating throughout the day can be lethal. It is best to have planned snacks. During your next trip to the grocery store, stock up on healthy, low-calorie options. When you return home, prep them for easy eating for the week. By having your healthy foods washed, cut and ready to chomp, you will you be able to make better choices and eat healthier.
3. Your Fridge. Since we were just talking about prepping healthy, it reminded me of another great tip. Keep a diet-friendly refrigerator. Take your fruits and veggies out of the drawers.&nb sp; Put them in clear containers on the shelf so when you open the door to the fridge looking for something to munch, you will find healthier choices at eye level. Trust me, it works. Any foods that are your diet enemies should be stored in hard-to-reach areas such as the back of the fridge or the top shelf of your cabinets.
4. Hydrate. Water is your friend. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. A recent study found that drinking your daily requirement could help you lose five pounds in a year. Eight glasses might sound overwhelming if you are not in the habit of drinking water. A 2008 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that when people drank two cups of water before breakfast, they ate 75 fewer calories, or 13 percent less, compared to the participants who didn't get their H2O before eating. I suggest drinking two glasses at each meal – and then drink the other two cups with snacks. Just don't drink too late in your day – you might be waking up in the middle of the night stumbling to the bathroom …
5. Write It Down. There have been numerous articles and studies done that confirm people lose more weight when they track what they are eating. Keep a food journal every day and watch your eating patterns. You will be able to identify what time of day you need to be prepared; then you can adjust the times of day you eat accordingly. Several websites offer electronic journals where you can log your food intake and it will give you the nutritional breakdown FitDay.com, NutriDiary.com and find other websites by googling “online food diary.”
6. Create a To-Do List. Many people turn to food for comfort or when they feel stressed or bored. This behavior can be changed. One way to do it is to create a to-do list. Activities that keep your hands busy can help prevent you from emotional and/or mindless munching. Put photographs in albums, crochet a scarf for a friend, clean out a closet or drawer, change the colour of your nail polish, or wrap holiday gifts.
7. Meal Skipping Is a Big No! Many of my clients don’t like to eat breakfast or get too busy to eat lunch. There is no excuse for this behaviour – especially over the holidays. There’s an old adage, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” I believe eating three meals a day is the best way to keep your energy up and it also keeps your metabolism working. Food is fuel and you need it for peak performance. Plus, when you skip a meal, there is a strong chance that you will be ravenous the next time you eat. You will end up eating too fast and more than you needed. Take this concept up a notch. Add in planned snacks so you are eating six small meals a day and you’ll never have that empty or starved feeling.
8. The Land of Nod. Sleep is one of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle and it is critical if you are trying to lose weight. Researcher from the University of Chicago recently found that dieters who slept for 8.5 hours lost 55 percent more body fat than dieters who slept 5.5 hours. The lack of zzz's could have influenced the study participants' metabolic rates. From personal experiences, when you're tired you lose willpower and give in to your cravings. When you are rested you make better decisions in every part of your life.
Enjoy the holidays in small portions. Focus on your family and friends -- not food-- as you celebrate this wonderful time of year.
By: Tene Sommer
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