The holiday season is here and that means meeting family, friends, holiday trips and not to mention FOOD! And lots of it as usually the case is and this brings various emotions in people depending on where they are in their weight loss journey. For people who are struggling to lose weight the holiday parties are their biggest test, in terms of delicious food they have to resist, or if they give in then the feelings of guilt they experience in the following days. For people who have already lost weight and are in maintenance phase it means having just enough to not gain any excess weight and still not feel deprived.
Unfortunately as seen from the graph, most weight gain during the year is observed during the holiday seasons. Several studies have found that the weight gain during holiday seasons is not lost during the rest of the year, suggesting that holiday treats may be one of the main reason in the slow, insidious weight gain most adults observe with age.
One way to avoid this is to be really attentive about what you eat in the parties. One study found that people gain an average of 500% more weight per week during the holiday compared to non-holiday weeks, with only the most consistent trackers averaging any weight loss at all.
This of course is not easy when everyone around you seems to be indulging themselves in that second helping of turkey and that chocolate pie seems to be really to die for! (not to forget your skinny cousin ate 3 helpings and never seems to gain a pound).
Here are some all important tips and secrets from a Nutritionist on how to make sure you don’t over indulge yet enjoy this holiday season without gaining weight!
- You must have all heard this yet this remains the most important tip; Have a healthy snack before you go to the party! This ensures you get your important nutrients like fiber, vitamins, proteins and essential fats before the oily, greasy and mostly unhealthy party food.
- Having a healthy snack will make sure you are not ravenously hungry and thus can think logically while make more healthy choices and eat only as much as you need preventing you from over-filling your plate and overeating.
- Examples of healthy snacks are fruits, handful of nuts, a glass of milk with soaked chia seeds, bowl of yoghurt with flax seeds or a bowlful of steamed chana/lobia.
- Have water or fresh fruit juices if those are being served. Avoid aerated drinks and mocktails as the sugary drinks cause rapid insulin spikes and fat deposition causing weight gain.
- Concentrate on socializing rather than eating. Make these events where you catch up with people and enjoy the company rather than making it all about stuffing yourself crazy!
- Plan your cheat meals around the holiday dinners so you can enjoy the meal without a feeling of guilt!
- When choosing dishes always start with a Salad with a light dressing (avoid cheese and mayonnaise based dressings).
- Choose white meat like chicken/fish over red meat and if there is turkey choose white meat over the dark meat.
- Choose vegetable side dishes to accompany your choice of protein rather than breads and potatoes.
- If it’s a potluck volunteer to take a healthy dessert or a main course to give yourself the option of having at least one healthy option.
- Fill your plate with fresh fruits and opt for a small serving of dessert. This will satisfy your craving for the sugar at the same time won’t make you feel deprived.
- Make sure you do your daily exercise even while you attend the parties. Don’t make the excuse of enjoying your holidays and taking a break. This quickly spirals into months of no exercise!
- Do keep weighing yourself every week and logging in your food in the trackers to keep yourself accountable.
- Finally do keep in touch with your Nutritionist during this difficult and tempting time to get specialized diet, tips and motivation to not deviate too much from the healthy eating plan.
So remember that holidays are a time to Meet, Greet and Eat! Enjoy all aspects of this holiday season including the food, without waking up guilty the next day! After all tis the season to be Merry!