The holiday season is full of cheer, full of presents, full of family and friends…and full of empty calories. However, that doesn’t mean you have to end up twenty pounds heavier by the time the new year rolls around (just in time to make an empty resolution to take the weight off again).
It’s easy to overeat and lose track of your exercise routines during the festive season, but it is possible to indulge a bit while still being mindful of your health. Here are 5 ways to enjoy the season with reason when surrounded by so much delicious temptation…
1. Don’t Arrive to the Party Hungry
Of course there will be invited to work parties, your neighbor’s parties, your family’s parties, and so on. Those will no doubt all be stocked with yummy fatty goodness, and you will be strongly encouraged by the hosts to eat as much as possible to help them avoid a huge cleanup afterwards.
However, WebMD advises one trick is to eat something (preferably nutritious) before you arrive at the do, so you can nibble a couple of sweets slowly and smile when the hosts ask you if you have enough to eat. The source also suggests filling up on a couple of glasses of water at the party if you don’t have time to eat beforehand.
2. Don’t Munch Near the Punch
That’s another way of saying…try to steer clear of drinking too much, that is if the punch has “cheer” added to it for the adults. While it’s okay to have one of two of those small glasses full, hanging out near the punch bowl with your appetizers won’t help you to cut down on the alcohol.
Not only will you potentially avoid making a fool of yourself in front of your boss or love interest, you’ll also be avoiding a lot of calories, according to online fitness source, Total Women’s Cycling. It notes that a glass of wine has 160 calories, while a single glass of eggnog has 223 calories (it doesn’t mention if that includes festive rum). To put those numbers into perspective, a single patty hamburger registers around 300 calories.
3. Avoid Grabbing the Biggest Plate
Livestrong says that controlling food intake during the holidays can be as easy as choosing a smaller plate when you’re loading up at the buffet. It’s human nature to want to fill up that bigger plate, and usually with the foods that are the most indulgent, which also means the most fattening.
The online source suggests you choose a plate that’s normally used to sides or salads, and to eat at a relaxed pace. It’s also important not to stack the food on the smaller plate, as you’ll be back to square one. Go back for seconds if you really want, but remember it’s not an eating contest.
4. Walk Around the Clock
Okay, this doesn’t mean you have to constantly exercise. However, it’s very easy to get sucked into the “I worked hard this year and I’m going to relax and eat everything” attitude during the holidays. Sure, you’re right – you deserve some treats – but don’t make your body hate you in the new year.
The festive season is a great time to get out for a brisk walk, as the colder air will do you good. You can burn around 100 calories per mile by walking, so you’ll have that eggnog erased in just over two miles! Also, think of all the great holiday displays you’ll see during your stroll…
5. Try to Relax Instead of Eating Snacks
It’s no secret; the holidays are a stressful (and joyous!) time for many people. All the planning, all the shopping, all the traveling with kids (or without) can be a lot to deal with. Livestrong also notes that stress releases the hormone cortisol, which makes us stressed and also increases our appetite.
Eating sugary and rich foods can help suppress the stress and help release serotonin (our body’s answer to cortisol), but at the same time you’ll be loading in the calories, says Livestrong. It’s best to breathe through it, pace yourself, and remind yourself it’s supposed to be a joyful time.