For most people, the coming few weeks is a time of celebration with family and friends that involves gathering at office parties, house parties and family get-togethers, and invariably involves eating and drinking.
It is also a time when it is easy to put on weight if one is not careful and sometimes let this looser behaviour roll on through into the new-year and snowball into a girth growth.
The average person gains two or three pounds over the holidays, and that weight is rarely lost.
But if you are prepared and go into this holiday season with a plan, you can completely enjoy yourself and not feel like you missed out on anything. Here is just a short list of tips and ideas to help manage your weight over the holidays.
• Be aware of what the high-calorie foods are. In small, moderate amounts these foods won’t run up the calorie count too much, but if you’re not aware of the content of certain foods, things can get away on you in a hurry.
Seasonal high-calorie foods include egg-nog, shortbread, cheese, gravy, alcohol, dips, nuts and of course desserts. Be judicious with these foods and have a little extra veggies and fruit.
Beware of many food items deemed ‘low-fat’ (like eggnog and dips) as these are often not reduced much in overall calories and we tend to overeat these because we think we are getting a break in the calorie count.
• Before arriving at a party, don’t skip a meal, so that you can indulge yourself with extra goodies. You are much more apt to go overboard if you feel famished.
Having a little extra water before arriving and drinking water throughout the party helps to curb your appetite. You could even try having a small amount of food an hour or two before going. Protein helps satiate you more than most foods. Lean meat such as chicken or fish is fairly low in calories, so you could try one or two ounces before-hand.
We all want to be polite to the host of the party, but you don’t have to overindulge to do so. You don’t have to finish every scrap of food on your dinner-plate. Eat until you feel full and then push away the plate. Anything past that point is just going on your waistline. You could offer to take home any leftovers that way you are able to enjoy the delicious food, or something you hadn’t tried, for a few more days.
• You don’t have to sample every piece of food on the buffet table, either. Try one or two of your favourites and admire the rest. And use a small plate size when eating any appetizers, or better yet use a napkin since you can probably only get one piece of food on it at a time.
• Exercise is always important, so keep it up over the holidays. If you are not currently exercising why not start getting into an active lifestyle with some seasonal winter activities like ice skating or try something new like snowshoeing on one of the local mountains. You could even build-in an activity like skating or bowling into a holiday party event.
If you do slip-up and go overboard, don’t beat yourself up. Use the experience to learn and improve for the next time around. The creeping waistline happens because of years of mistakes and opportunities unlearned.
Most of all, enjoy the season and don’t deprive yourself, but be creative and don’t let convention and tradition limit your choices.
Kerry Senchyna is owner
of West Coast Kinesiology and is a provincially registered kinesiologist.