If you're here, it's because you are looking for some ways to avoid holiday weight gain. The holidays are upon us and that means lots of desserts, bread, and especially in the case of Chanukah, amazingly good fried foods. Now, nobody is saying hands off the latkes or Christmas fudge, but here are five ways to avoid holiday weight gain while also enjoying your favorite foods of the season.
1. One Treat Makes Me Complete
When hosting a holiday party or attending one, plus any birthday parties in December, say to yourself, "one treat makes me complete." A treat is anything that has lots of sugar or carbs, so this means that bread is a treat. If you’ve already had a bit of challah, then your treat is complete. Challah is prepared by Jewish women the world over for Shabbat. Are you at your aunt’s and had just a tiny piece of Christmas fudge? Remember that small morsel is loaded with sugar. One and done is one of the best ways to avoid holiday weight gain.
2. To Dessert or Not to Dessert, That is the Question
You’re looking at your calendar. Office holiday party, best friend’s girls night out birthday bash, your own birthday, Christmas party at your cousin’s, Christmas party at your Aunt’s, interfaith potluck celebration with a Wiccan friend. It’s going to be a busy December, but it doesn’t need to be a busy month of getting fat. Remember rule number one - "one treat makes me complete." Now, take it one step further. Decide only to touch dessert at half of the celebrations you attend. If you’re bad at self-discipline, then save dessert for the last of your holiday get-togethers.
3. Create Something Delicious and Healthy to Pass
Who said healthy food had to taste like rabbit food? Want to get compliments and lose weight? Here’s a salad to bring along, and trust me you’ll want to make a lot of it. Toss green lettuce (never use iceberg lettuce), cranberries, walnuts, and gorgonzola cheese and add creamy balsamic vinaigrette. Be sure to call the host or hostess ahead of time and ask if anyone is allergic to nuts. If so, bring the walnuts in a separate container. This salad is so mouth-wateringly good, you’ll be saying you’re welcome all night long.
4. Winter Sports and Activities
Why is it that when the weather gets colder in states like Michigan and New York there becomes this idea that we’re all stuck indoors? Unless there’s a severe snowstorm or a blizzard, there are plenty of winter sports and activities to join in, either by yourself or with others. Losing weight or not adding weight is more about calorie intake than how much you exercise, but exercising builds muscle and muscle helps to burn fat.
You’re not too old to go ice skating. Your town might have a pickup hockey team, including for beginners. Take the dogs and go snowshoeing (always bring someone and plenty of water) around a town or state park. If you really hate the cold, join a gym or yoga studio. Maybe, just maybe, this year is the year you try skiing down that big hill. A ski instructor will be with you the whole time. You get an amazing cardiovascular workout skiing and a really good burn to your legs.
5. Opt to Use the Salad Plate
This is not just a rule to follow for the holidays, but in fact all year round. You don’t need to use gigantic size dinner plates. In fact, according to the History Channel, dinner plates of the 21st century are 2” in diameter bigger than dinner plates manufactured in the 1980s. I’m sure many of you with hand me down dishes your Mom gave you when you moved into your own place already knew this. For your meals, opt for using the salad plate as your dinner plate and eat only what you can fit on that plate.
Remember to work with your doctor to have a weight range that is healthy for you, and remember being underweight is not safe for you either. Go ahead and enjoy some desserts or a second helping of your favorite dish, but remember your portion sizes.