‘Tis the season of holiday parties, frothy mugs of eggnog, sugary cookies, and plenty of good cheer. It is a lovely season, but once the new year arrives, many of us are filled with regret. The average person gains between 5 and 10 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s. Starting 2014 with a spare sixer can be stressful and less-than-ideal. Start the new year off right and avoid January dieting by practicing holiday weight maintenance. The coming onslaught of holiday parties can sabotage even the most determined holiday waistline, so stick to these 4 useful tips for guidance.
Skip the apps. Let’s face it, in the battle between appetizers and dessert, dessert always wins. Pass up the cheese and crackers and nuts, which can rack up the calories with continual snacking. Grab yourself a beverage, and hold out until the main course. If you are going to indulge in apps, stick to one or two high protein treats like prosciutto wrapped figs.
Acquire your target. Choose one thing you’d like to splurge on and stick to it. Focused on that chocolate martini? Eat a miniature portion of dessert. Know you’re going to stuff your face with cheesecake? Choose low calorie alcoholic beverages and focus on the protein and veggies during the main course. By sticking to one big splurge, you won’t feel like you are restricting yourself, but in reality you will save hundreds of calories.
Enjoy yourself. If you have to unbutton your pants on the way home, don’t panic! One night of festivities isn’t going to ruin your diet. Just jump right back in the saddle the next morning. Have multiple, back-to-back parties this week? Only indulge in what is really worth it. A good rule I like to follow is only eat it if it is made from scratch. That means none of those sugar cookies that come in all spectrums of the rainbow, no grocery store-bought pies, no cakes from a box mix. These more processed baked goods are less healthy — if not higher in calories — than their thoughtfully concocted counterparts. Plus, they simply don’t taste quite as exquisite. (Exceptions to this rule include pies and pastries from high quality bakeries or exceptional mountain diners.) In essence, only indulge in the really good stuff and you’ll still have a blast.
Keep exercising. It can be easy to stop your workout routine in the winter. It’s colder, we enjoy more comfort foods, and even our clothes are cozier. But keeping a steady exercise routine is perhaps even more important in the winter. It will keep your immune system and energy up, while keeping those extra indulgences in check. If you are not in the mood to push the cardio sessions, try yoga in the mornings, which will burn calories while relaxing your mind from the stress of the holiday season.
Feel free to enjoy yourself — it’s the holidays after all! Drink some eggnog, have that extra slice of pie, just as long as you set some guidelines for yourself. By keeping your holiday helpings in check, you won’t have any extra pounds to regret next year.