What is the Seasonal Seven, well it is not the Seven Swans a Swimming but the average amount of weight most Americans gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s! My motto is easier to keep it off than take it off! Now having said that, yes we can still enjoy the holidays and all the festivities that go along with them we just need to be more aware of some simple but winning strategies that will help keep you out of the majority!
Now may not be the time to think weight loss, however many of my clients are thrilled if they can just hold steady and not gain weight. The balanced or moderate approach works every time as opposed to the all or nothing approach. Let’s enjoy the holidays and by following these simple steps you may find your still in your jeans in January!
#1: Don’t go to the party hungry!
We often think if we “starve” ourselves all day we can indulge at the party. A better party strategy is to eat all day light healthy meals, keep hydrated and then have a small protein snack with small amount of healthy fat just prior to heading out the door. Snack ideas might be, handful o f nuts and an apple, carrots and hummus, a low fat cheese and fruit. This 200-calorie snack will give you the ability to make better choices at the buffet and bar.
#2: Buffet strategy!
Use a small plate or napkin; leave the large plate on the table. Fill it with lean meat or seafood, fresh fruits or veggies and then take a small amount of your favorite treat. It’s not about deprivation it is about keeping treats in the treat category. Find nourishing conversation to fill you up!
#3: Offer to bring a healthy dish!
Everyone will be as glad as you to have a wonderful big green salad, fruit plate, or whole grain salad. I always bring a big box of clementine tangerines to our neighborhood kids holiday party and they eat them up every time, talk about easy and healthy!
#4. Stay hydrated!
Often we overeat and drink excess alcoholic drinks high in calories when we are simply thirsty! Drink a glass of water after each drink. Mix your wine with sparkling water. A 3 oz glass of wine is between 80-100 calories.
#5. Mindful Eating
Pay attention to how quickly you eat and exactly what you eat and drink. Savor the flavor by eating slowly and choosing your food carefully. I tell my clients use the power of “Pause”, take a moment to take in your food with all your senses, sight, smell and taste, not only will you enjoy it more, but you will most likely consume less.
#6. Crowd out the Empties!
Do not think elimination or deprivation think “Crowd” them out, 9 servings a day is the optimal amount of veggies and fruits utilizing a variety of colors Trust me the high fiber and water content in these foods will fill you up and you may not even crave the empty high caloric foods. FOOD THAT ENTERS THE BLOODSTREAM QUICKLY PROMOTES WEIGHT GAIN; FOOD THAT ENTERS SLOWLY PROMOTES WEIGHT LOSS! In other words limit or avoid empty calories, they deplete your body of essential vitamins and minerals, make you gain weight, throw off your body’s ability to regulate sugar and don’t even fill you up, 100 calorie pack Oreos come to mind. Highly processed foods, enter the bloodstream very rapidly, while the same amount of sugar from high fiber, high protein kidney beans enters your blood slowly. If you drink a soda all the sugar in it goes into your bloodstream at once, the calories you are not using at the moment will be stored as fat. , now those kidney beans on the other hand the sugar in them is absorbed over time, your body has a greater chance to use the calories = less stored more burned, additionally because of the high fiber content of the beans, not all the calories will be absorbed.
#7. Exercise the Energizer!
Look at this way you have more to do than ever, exercise will give you the added energy boost you need to keep going. Continue your workout schedule but ease off a bit to allow for the extra time holiday commitments take. You don’t want to stress yourself out or quit exercising completely! Add in passive exercise wherever you can, celebrate the parking space miles away, add an extra loop around the mall, and put on a holiday CD and rock around the Christmas tree! Take short walks morning, noon and night 15 minutes times three adds up!! Schedule your gym workouts on the calendar just like any important appointment! Put tango lessons on your Holiday Wish List!
Keep track of how many calories you are burning and how many calories you are taking in.
Here are some popular holiday food and drinks:
- Eggnog, 1 cup serving, 342 calories 18 grams of fat
- Stuffing, 1/2 cup, 178 calories 8.6 fat
- Dark meat turkey, no skin, 3.5 oz., 187 calories 7.2 fat
- Gravy, 1/4 cup, 30 calories 2 fat
- Homemade pumpkin pie, 1/8 of a 9-inch pie, 316 calories 14 fat homemade
- Pecan pie, 1/8 of 9-inch pie, 502 calories 27 fat
Here are some activities and the number of calories they burn (for a 150-pound person, on average):
- Stationary bike (at moderate level): 504 calories/hour
- Elliptical trainer (general): 648 calories/hour
- Stairmaster: 432 calories/hour
- Running (11.5 min/mile): 648 calories/hour
- Walking (17 min/mile): 288 calories/hour
Cheryl Mirabella-Caldwell, MA, CHHC, is a Nutritional Wellness Coach and Corporate Wellness Educator, located in Old Town, Alexandria and Warrenton, VA. To arrange a complimentary consult, find healthy recipes or to learn more go to http://www.livingwholehealth.com, email@example.com or 703-599-8791.