All too often we find ourselves overindulging during the holiday season, regretting our choice to eat too many slices of pie or servings of turkey. We make a New Years resolution to lose all of the weight we’ve gained, plus more, and then life happens, and we find ourselves repeating the same mistake, year in and year out.
Tell me I am not alone?
A quick Google search showed that the average American gained about one pound during the holiday season. I don’t know that I believe this statistic, but this isn’t a research paper, so moving on...
Regardless of how much weight we gain, most of us don't want to gain any weight, to begin with. Am I right?
Yet it shouldn’t be a surprise we overindulge; we are a culture of gluttony and excess! I am just as guilty as anyone. Every year I vow to eat healthily, and every year I break that vow to myself and feel horrible about how much I consume.
A few years ago, I realized enough was enough. I joined a challenge at the base I was assigned to, to maintain weight during the holiday season. Essentially, I weighed in before Thanksgiving and a few days after New Years Day; if I was within a 2-pound margin, I won a prize. For an emotional eater and someone who struggled with discipline towards food, I was not going to try and lose weight—that would have been cruel and unusual punishment.
Instead, I set my sights on what was attainable, and guess what? Not only did I not gain any weight—I even lost a few pounds, unintentionally!
These 10 tips are a compilation of guidelines that have helped me keep the pounds off before and suggestions I plan to follow again this year. Will you join me?
Just think it’s one less pound you’ll have to lose in for your New Year's Resolution ;)
Acknowledge /address the sin issue. Did you know that gluttony, excess in eating or drinking, is a sin? And yet, it’s probably the most tolerated sin in all of America. Food is not bad, but when we consume in excess, consistently, there is an issue. Check out the following link from Desiring God.
“Gluttony, after all, is food worship. It’s table idolatry. It’s more about the direction of our loves than it is about the contents of our cupboards.”
Be realistic. I knew I wasn't going to lose much if any, weight during the holidays. Much of our activities surrounded food. I accepted that the best goal during this 7-week stretch was to maintain weight and that’s what I set my sights on.
Plan when to indulge. You know how many houses you plan on visiting, and what kinds of temptations you will be surrounded by. Instead of going in unprepared, plan what dessert you are going to enjoy, plan whose house you'll eat a full meal, and whose home you'll enjoy dessert. Then stick to your plan. I like to balance it out. If I eat veggies first, then I can enjoy dessert. Or I will only have one dessert, not a little bit of everything.
Drink water before every meal, with every meal, and after every meal. I have found that when I drink a lot of water, I consume significantly less during my meal periods.
Find an activity to participate in – turkey trot, 5K, Family walk, something!
Weigh yourself regularly/daily. When you see the scale jump up, you may realize that overindulging wasn’t worth it. Knowing that I am getting weighed-in in the morning can be a slight deterrent from the 3rd slice of pie.
Veggies most. I learned this tip with Beach body’s program 2B mindset. Water first, veggies most. Stack your plate with vegetables, and make sure that's your first bite. I have found that when I force myself to eat all of my veggies before I touch anything else, I consume less of the carbs on my dinner plate.
Alter the recipes Firstly, the sweet potato casserole doesn’t need that much sugar; Secondly, replace butter with applesauce, mashed banana, or pumpkin puree wherever you can. There are so many tips, and tricks you can implement that won't ruin your feast.
Use Whole-Wheat Flour – Whole-wheat provides more fiber than its white counterparts—and more likely to keep you full throughout the day.
Substitute butter with EVOO or Unsweetened applesauce – Reduces the amount of saturated fats.
Use Skim milk instead of whole
Replace whole eggs for 2 egg whites - Losing the yolk cuts your cholesterol intake without reducing the flavor.
Cut the sugar in half
Opt for bold-flavored cheeses, such as extra-sharp Cheddar, goat cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano, to give more flavor impact with fewer calories and less fat.
Remind yourself that you can have leftovers tomorrow. Instead of going up for thirds, remind yourself that you can have a plate for lunch tomorrow and resist the urge to stuff your face. This tip usually helps me when I am feeling a bit "addicted." The idea that the delicious food will be there tomorrow helps me fight the urge to binge.
Find an accountability partner. If you need some tough love, ask someone to be your partner. They can remind you of your goals and prevent you from grabbing that second serving of Creamed Corn Casserole…
What are your tips to help you maintain or lose weight during the Holiday season? Send us a message on FB/IG or leave us a comment!