Healthy Holidays

In Nutrition, Weight Loss by stephanieauthementLeave a Comment

The holidays are some of the best times for getting together with your family and relatives to celebrate. There are movies about Christmas and let’s not forget every child’s favorite show “The Polar Express.” During the holidays, we enjoy our time spent with loved ones that we haven’t seen in a while and with that comes food. While we all love getting together with our families, the typical thing that happens is food is brought. The most common time of the year for people to overeat is the holidays, specifically Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If you’ve ever heard that people put on fifteen pounds during the holidays, it’s true. It occurs between between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So here is the same story for most people every year:

  1. Celebrate the holidays by eating, drinking, and being merry.

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2. Do this for 6 weeks straight.

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3. Put on roughly 15 lbs.

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4. New Year’s Resolution time to lose that 15 lbs that you just gained.

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5. Repeat every year.

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So what the heck are you supposed to do? It is totally possible to maintain your weight AND eat right during the holidays. It is also possible to LOSE weight during the holidays if you are willing to work for it. Why are you binge eating on cakes and cookies?

The good news is that this same time next week you can still purchase those same items that you are dying to have today. There is no reason to stuff yourself for 6 weeks and then fix it over the next year to complete the same cycle every year. You can make cake and cheesecake all year round. Let’s not eat the entire cake in one sitting because we can use the holidays as the excuse.

Here are some tips to get you through this holiday season:

  1. Eat more vegetables. I know what you’re thinking. That’s obvious. But seriously, eat more of these. Why do you picture vegetables that are steamed and have no flavor? Because that’s what you picture when you think “eat right” or “dieting.” Instead, why not spruce up your vegetables. Add some seasoning and mix it up. Why not add some broccoli to that macaroni and cheese dish you have to have?  You won’t be able to eat as much because you’re adding in something that fills you up pretty easily and broccoli is low in calories. Instead of fixing a salad, make ratatouille – squash, tomatoes, zucchini, with tomato sauce and seasoning – YUM! Of course, if you want a salad, spruce that up with some different varieties of vegetables and dressing that way you aren’t bored with what you are eating.

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2. Cut back on the alcohol.  I know here in Louisiana, we love to drink. Drinking lots of alcohol whether it is beer or wine or shots is a big factor why people feel like crap during the holidays and start not fitting in their clothes that fit them a few weeks ago. If you’re going to drink, take your time while drinking. Why are you in a rush to finish that glass of wine? If you are going to drink beer, don’t rush to grab another one after you finish the one you’re drinking. Take your time between drinking your drinks because lets face it – when you start downing drinks, you turn from buzzed to drunk pretty darn quick. That’s usually when it’s time to cut it out anyway. Also, one shot of alcohol is roughly the equivalent of one can of beer as far as calories go. Did you know that a 12 pack of 12 oz Budweiser beer is almost 1800 calories! That is almost all the calories you need in one day! So limit it to 3 LIGHT beers and then you’ll still have to cut back on the food you eat because that’s still calories. If you want those 3 LIGHT beers, you’ll have to give up 3 snacks to get it. Does that seem worth it to you?
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3. Be more active. So while I live where it stays ‘relatively’ warm during the winter time, there are so many other places that have cold weather during this time. That is our excuse for not exercising. “Oh, I can’t go outside and go for a walk. It’s too cold outside.” I couldn’t tell you how many times I hear this. Even if you can’t afford a gym membership, where it stays a normal temperature inside all year round, you can still exercise in your house. YouTube has free videos to exercise wit. You don’t have to order any workout videos that you see on TV or in stores. Or you can put on some pants and long sleeve shirt  and go out and run around the neighborhood. Do squats while you brush your teeth. Go use that workout equipment that you’ve bought and never used. Just get more active. If you have an Xbox with the Kinect, play the games that you have to move around to since you don’t like to go outside. It doesn’t take much, but you need to do this daily.
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4. If you eat unhealthy food, cut back on the rest of the day’s food. This goes back to that time where you heard that you need to eat 2000 calories a day. If that’s the case, that means if you eat a piece of cake for 400 calories, well there goes your lunch. If you eat a piece of cake, a cookie, and a big plate of lasagna, guess what you don’t need to eat the rest of the day essentially because you’ll have eaten all of your calories for that day. Ultimately, what I tell my patients is this: eat more fruits and vegetables and lean meats and healthy carbs, BUT on those days where you are going to eat bad food (even though you shouldn’t) you won’t necessarily hurt your weight if you cut it somewhere else. For example, instead of eating a sandwich for lunch with a salad and a bag of baked chips, choose the salad with a fruit that way you have the calories from the sandwich  and chips left for the party that night.

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Enjoy the holidays, but don’t let the holidays ruin your new year!