Thanksgiving marks the start of six weeks of holiday rush and carb heavy meals. If you are not focused with a plan you can quickly slip off your meal and exercise strategy and spend the winter months with regret trying to get back on track.
According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two every year. Over a lifetime, holiday weight gain can really add up.
Here are 4 simple tips to keep in mind and still enjoy your grandma’s stuffing.
- Enjoy the meal and don’t beat yourself up
No one likes a dinner guest that talks about how many calories a meal is or how hard they will need to work to burn it off after. Do yourself and your company a favor by eating the full meal and enjoying it. We do not gain weight from 4-5 bad meals in a month. Weight gain is from a prolonged lack of clean meal planning and exercise.
2. Watch your beverages
Liquid calories in just about any form – alcohol, juice or soda – are stealth calories. They come in undetected under the radar screen, but have an impact that can be enormous. Scientific evidence confirms that although such liquids count as calories, the body doesn’t detect them the same way as it would detect solid food.
This is where you can take the most impactful defense on unwanted weight gain. Because liquid calories like beer and wine are so easy to consume and they do not fill you up the same way during the meal, so we tend to consume more. We suggest sticking with a drink that has low sugar content but still tastes great. Flavored waters can do the trick.
Moreover, reducing your alcohol consumption can significantly boost your health. That being said, it is no secret that alcohol is highly addictive and it can be tough to give up drinking. I was talking to a friend of mine about this the other day. He has battled alcoholism for most of his life. However, since attending rehab, he has managed to turn his life around and is feeling much healthier.
Treating alcohol addiction is not an overnight process. As with any addiction, it is important to follow up on any rehabilitation with a regimented outpatient program. You can learn more about these types of programs and therapies for combatting substance abuse issues on the Enterhealth website.
3. Have a plan to get back on track
For most of us, our exercise schedule is reduced during the holidays. We may have a few tennis lessons in Kansas City here and there just to see friends and get the blood flowing, but usually, because we’re spending so much time with friends and family we spend less time in the gym. This coupled with the heavy foods can result in challenges down the road. Reduced energy from heavy meals equals less exercise sessions and the cycle continues. Map out your workouts for the holiday season. If you know you will be out partying on New Year’s Eve, reduce down to 2-3 maintenance workouts that week. Reduction is fine, just don’t stop cold turkey.
4. Be mindful of the rabbit hole
“Well, this week is shot so I will have another dessert and worry about it next week.” Sound familiar? This is the kiss of death and you will regret it. Remember why you had a program in the first place and be disciplined.