Tomorrow is one of my favorite days in the whole year. A day of Thanksgiving with family and friends, enjoying everything that we’ve been given, including wonderful foods like turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and so much more. What a great day to sit back and eat more than one could hardly bear!
Someone told me yesterday that the average person gains 5-8 lbs. over the holiday season. As I am continuing working on losing weight over the next year, I do not want to gain back the weight that I have worked hard to lose over the last few months. I’m hoping to simply ‘break even’ and consider that a success for the holidays.
So what are some ways that I (and you if you’re in my boat) can keep the holiday weight off? Here’s ten things I’m going to try:
1. Control My Portions:
Probably my biggest issue. I can enjoy more of the variety of holiday foods if I eat less of them in their portions. I have to get over my goal-oriented sense of eating and simply enjoy the food, but in smaller portions.
2. Lighten the Load:
Many of the holiday foods can be made with less sugar and fat. Here are some suggestions:
# Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
# Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods.
# Reduce oil and butter wherever you can.
# Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.
3. Eat Breakfast:
I know this seems counter-productive, but having a little food in your stomach when the big meal comes helps one control their cravings better and keeps you from overeating. It also prevents your body from storing your Thanksgiving feast into more fat because you’re not eating on a consistent basis.
4. Save Your Seconds:
Try to eat everything you need and want in one helping and resist going back for seconds. Save them for leftovers the next day, when you can enjoy them more and feel like you’ve overeaten less.
5. Get Active:
Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods, suggests Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, former president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). “‘Eat less and exercise more’ is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays,” Diekman says. “Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast.
6. Slowly Savor:
Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food, experts say. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness.
7. Spread out the food and fun all day long:
Rather than eating all of the food in one hour, enjoy your meal throughout the day. Take a walk in between the meal and dessert, put out appetizers before the main meal, you will be able to enjoy the food over a longer period of time and keep curb your appetite more effectively.
8. Be Realistic:
Switch from a mindset of ‘weight loss’ to ‘weight maintenance’ over the holiday season.
9. Focus on the Holiday Foods:
Save room (and calories) for the foods that only come around once a year! Don’t waste tons of calories and space on foods that you can eat any time of the year.
10. Focus on Family and Friends:
While the food of the holidays is tough to beat, the real focus during this holiday season should be on people. Spend time with family and friends, give to the poor and the hungry, and remind yourself that its about so much more than great food.
Good luck in your battle! Happy Thanksgiving!