Here are a few quick tips for successfully cheating the holiday weight gain.
1. Calories Count - Whether its a football game at friends, a holiday buffet or the big family party, you have to be calorie wise. Take a few of your favorite foods and learn the calorie pitfalls. One I see at the office is trail mix. Nuts, raisins and a little bit of chocolate doesn’t seem so bad, but 1/4 cup (less than a handful) can be 150 calories. While watching the football game, switch your normal potato chips to Kettle Brand Baked chips. My favorite is the Black pepper--Pepper is good for digestion too. You can get as many as 22 chips for that same calorie range (120 in Kettle’s baked chips). Another slippery slope is the cheesy, gooey, creamy dips that accompany so many appetizers. Skip the chip and use vegetables for dipping. If you really love your dips at least you are not adding 100 calorie crackers to the count. You may even substitute Old London melba toast rounds. They are flavored and have only 60 calories for 3 big tastes.
2. Push the Protein - When you start grazing, carbs alone with give you that sugar high and drop-- meaning you will be hungry for more. AND your spirited beverages act as carbohydrates on the body and will also give you that rush. Therefore, to stabilize blood sugar and keep your tummy full, opt for protein bites. Skip the little bun on the tenderloin sandwiches and chose cocktail shrimp when available. For under 200 calories you can eat 36 medium cocktail shrimp and even if you add the cocktail sauce at 15 calories a tablespoon, you’ll still be on track.
3. Don’t Deny Desert - At this holiday time of year, it’s even harder to skip the treats, so leave that to the other 10 months! But, beware and chose smart. Cut the pie into a 1/3 or half slice to skim calories or add International Delight’s new line of 40 calorie creamers to your coffee to indulge in a little treat. Remember fruit pies are lower in calories than cream, pumpkin and even pecan. My favorite is adding those flavored creamers over berries. I get all the sweet and creamy flavor together.
4. Chew Gum - For every party, keep a pack of gum in your purse. Chewing gum helps freshen your breath, so you will be ready for kissing under the mistletoe. And research shows that chewing gum can help reduce the craving for snacking. My favorite is Wrigleys Five blue gum- I don’t leave home without it.
5. Sleep over Exercise - Now don’t use this everyday, but surely you will want to get the minimum amount of sleep during the holidays - 6 hours. If it’s one or the other I recommend choosing sleep. Sleep helps regulate the hormones leptin and gherlin that aid in maintaining your weight and regulating appetite. Even a little exercise can go a long way, so if you can sneak in 20-30 minutes that can offset a few hundred calories.
Enjoy the holidays and remember to stand over sitting, better to give than receive and smile rather than frown- keep the wrinkles away!
Andrea Metcalf is a healthy lifestyle expert and author of Naked Fitness, a 28 Day Proven Weight Loss Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, You. (Vanguard Press) Like her facebook page Andrea Metcalf Health to win in the 31 Days of Healthy Ideas for January 2012. Each day she will be telling you about a great idea and giving it away to one lucky winner when you comment on the item. Follow on twitter to learn more @andreametcalf