The holiday season comes with all kinds of stress, from gift-giving anxiety to dealing with difficult relatives. But the biggest stress-causer of the season, for me anyway, is the parties: all those appetizers; all those chocolates; all that wine; all those calories! An entire month’s worth of mindful eating wrecked in just one evening – and there’s another party tomorrow!
A single serving of eggnog is like drinking three Mars bars!
I must confess that when it comes to delicious food I don’t have great impulse control. I never buy junk food and you’ll rarely find processed or high-sugar food in my kitchen. But offer me some dark chocolate at a Christmas party and I. Just. Can’t. Resist! After I’ve had a glass of wine or two, that buffet table looks irresistible. And that bandage dress I’ve starved myself into is starting to feel uncomfortably snug.
So here are 4 tips to help you avoid holiday weight gain.
1. Don’t starve yourself
When you haven’t consumed anything but coffee all day, your brain screams “feed me carbs!” by 4pm. Avoid these blood-sugar lows by eating small, nutrient-dense, fiber-rich meals 3 or 4 times a day. Have a small snack containing protein, fibre and healthy fat about an hour before a party or dinner to keep cravings at bay. Try a sliced apple, a wedge of blue cheese and a handful of walnuts, or a few tablespoons of hummus with a cup of raw veggies.
2. Re-gift tasty treats
That box of Purdy’s chocolates is unbelievably tempting. When someone’s kindness sabotages your diet, get in the holiday spirit and share! Instead of taking that tin of cookies home, open it at the office for all to enjoy. Donate edibles to the food bank
. Or why not re-gift them to someone on the street who looks cold and hungry.
3. Drink Smart. And Make Every Other Drink Water
Alcohol is calorie-rich and nutrient-poor. What’s more, at this time of year it’s often mixed with belly-bulging liqueurs and sugary syrups. A single 8-oz serving of eggnog can contain up to 440 calories, 18 grams of fat and 58 grams of sugar! That’s like drinking three Mars bars! So when you’re indulging, stick to clear spirits like scotch (very sophisticated and doesn’t stain if you spill it) and red wine (lots of antioxidants, but wear dark coloured clothing if you’re klutzy like me). Stay away from cocktails and dessert drinks.
My favourite trick
is to make the first drink of the evening a full glass of water, then alternate between water and alcohol for the rest of the night. Drink an entire glass of water before you allow yourself another hard drink. You’ll consume less alcohol and stay hydrated; you might even skirt that post-party hangover!
4. Get plenty of exercise – and sleep
: you sleep better, you look better. We call it beauty sleep for a reason! Exercise is a glow-getter, too: think of how healthy and rosy your skin looks after all that deep breathing in your yoga or Pilates class. During the busy season, be sure to balance all the excitement with lots of just-for-you time. Get to bed early whenever you can and get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. You’ll feel more alive and energized and you might be less likely to go beyond your limits with food or alcohol.
Hey, it’s the holidays; it’s okay to indulge a little. Just follow these 4 tips to stay fit and healthy and avoid getting stuffed!