11easy tips to find joy in Holiday food without the guilt of gaining weight
Family…Friends….FOOD!!! This is what the holidays are all about. What is there was a way to enjoy yourself over the holidays without feeling guilty about gaining that dreaded holiday weight?
With a little mindfulness and a commitment to keep moving, you can have all of your favorite holiday treats, without the regret of weight gain.
The average American gains one to five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day
This is especially true for people who are already overweight. A recent evaluation also found that people who are already overweight experienced greater increases in body fat over the holiday season compared to people in the normal weight range.
So instead of dieting during the coming weeks, how about setting the more achievable goal of maintaining your weight throughout the holidays. You can then focus on shedding pounds once the new year rolls around — and if you’ve maintained, you won’t have extra weight to lose in January.
It may seem like a contradiction to be able to enjoy the holidays and maintain your weight, but it’s not. Here, we share 10 tips to help you stay the course and be able to enjoy the holidays guilt free.
1. Move more
One of the main reasons for holiday weight gain? Decreased physical activity. Because of our various food traditions and abundance of holiday treats, it’s almost guaranteed we’ll eat more. That means we need to move more simply to keep from putting on pounds.
The good news is that people who are more active are better able to keep their weight stable during the holidays. Try these simple strategies:
- Make a post-meal walk a new family tradition so you can share the benefits and bond with loved ones. Even just a 10 minute walk right after a meal can help your body digest food more efficiently, help regulate blood sugar, and activate your metabolism to burn off the calories you just consumed.
- If you’re at the mall doing your holiday shopping, take a few laps around the building before you start looking for gifts.
- Dance vigorously to your favorite holiday songs at home or at holiday parties.
- Instead of sitting on the couch scrolling through your phone, just go take a walk. If you tell yourself you don’t have time, check the screentime app on your phone. It will probably tell a different story.
2. Mind your beverages.
It’s not just alcohol that results in weight gain. High-calorie drinks such as hot chocolate, flavored teas and eggnog are readily available during the holiday season. These drinks are delicious, but the calories you drink, combined with all that food, can add up quickly.
Keep these numbers in mind when deciding how much to indulge at a holiday celebration:
- 1 cup of eggnog = 350 calories and a whopping 20 grams of fat
- 12 ounce Starbucks Peppermint Mocha = 350 calories
- 6 ounces of wine = 130 calories
- 8 ounces of rum and Diet Coke = 100 calories
- 8 ounces of rum and Coke = 250 calories
- 12 ounces of light beer = 55-110 calories
- 12 ounces of regular beer = 150-200 calories
- 6 ounces of sweet/dessert wine = 280 calories
To minimize the impact of these drinks, try sipping on a glass of water in between holiday beverages will help you consume fewer of the high-calorie drinks. The water will also keep you hydrated, which is especially important if you’re drinking alcohol.
Also consider some alternatives that aren’t high in calories: for instance, club soda, mineral water or tomato juice with a twist of zesty fresh lime. Or try mixing rum or vodka with a zero calorie sparkling water, like LaCrioux and a lime.
Another drink that we love at Connexus Clinic is HOP WTR. It is a zero calorie, zero carb, alcohol-free drink that in infused with Nootropics to give you a feeling of relaxation. You can find more info at www.hopwtr.com
3. Eat High Protein Meals.
During the day prioritize eating high protein meals. This will keep you feeling full for longer and lessen the chance that you will over eat.
4. Never go to a party hungry.
You know the old adage about not grocery shopping when you are hungry? The same is true for parties.
Eating something light shortly before the party will help keep you from stuffing yourself with treats once you arrive.
Thirty minutes before you go, drink a tall glass of water with fresh lemon or lime. Then, eat a snack that combines fiber and protein, baby carrots/cucumbers with hummus, lowfat Greek yogurt, half a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread, or a fresh apple with a lowfat cheesestick.
Another great option to help with this appetite control is taking Connexus ProTrim with a big glass of water 15-30 minutes before the party. It will naturally make you fill more full so you can enjoy the food but not overdue it.
5. Make your first course light.
Instead of making a beeline for the cookies, cakes and pies when you get to the party, fill up your first plate with fresh vegetables. And wash them down with a glass of water — instead of soda or alcohol.
The veggies and water will both help you feel full. Why? The “stop eating” signal is sent to your brain in response to the weight and volume of food in your stomach. Vegetables and water are heavy and take up a lot of space while containing minimal calories.
Conversely, the refined sugars, salt and fats found in many holiday treats send signals to your brain to continue eating by triggering the brain’s “pleasure centers.”
Let the veggies and water tell your brain that you are full before you get “tricked” into eating all the yummie treats.
6. Enjoy your meal at a leisurely pace.
Eating slowly and waiting five to 10 minutes before refilling your plate can also help you avoid overeating. This is a big one. Usually if you make yourself take a few minutes before you go back for seconds you realize that you don’t really want that second helping.
The reason: It takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that the stomach is full. So if you take your time at a meal, you’re less likely to keep eating beyond the point where you’re actually full.
7. Don’t be ‘the host with the most.’
If you’re hosting a party, don’t get stuck with lots of leftover food you feel obligated to eat. Instead, set up a “carry out station” with to-go containers and baggies for people to take leftovers with them. Or walk around with food trays and offer your guests seconds — and extras to bring home.
If you’re contributing to the party, bring a healthy dish. Experiment with different lowfat recipes or try one of the following:
- Fresh fruit platter with low-fat yogurt
- Veggie platter with low-fat dip or hummus
- Baked chips with salsa or guacamole
8. Trim the fat and calories from holiday meals.
Make your holiday recipes healthier with these simple swaps:
- Steam, bake or broil foods instead of frying them
- Cook vegetables and other foods in broth instead of oil
- Use skim or 1 percent cow’s milk, or unsweetened almond, coconut or cashew milk instead of whole milk
- Replace half of the fat contributors — such as butter or oil — with applesauce
- Use two large egg whites for each whole egg
- Replace half of the white flour with whole wheat flour or almond flour in baked goods
- Double up on vanilla extract, cinnamon or nutmeg to enhance flavor
9. Be mindful of portion sizes.
It’s not just what you eat, it’s how much you eat that matters. You can enjoy your favorite high-calorie foods, just eat less of them.
Whether you’re hosting a party or bringing food, make each portion of your dish smaller. For instance, cut a pie into 12 pieces instead of 8, or create 48 brownies per pan instead of 24. Make a batch of cake pops or mini cupcakes instead of a large cake or full-sized cupcakes. And try serving pudding or mousse in shot glasses instead of large bowls.
Tiny treats are fun to eat and pack fewer calories. Plus, your fellow guests can try more of a variety of dishes.
This is another area where Connexus ProTrim can really help!
10. Be mindful of what you keep in the house.
If you keep sweet treats stocked in the pantry or laying around on the counter, you are much more likely to snack on them at random times during the day. When you do enjoy a savory holiday treat, make sure that it is worth it! How many times do we mindlessly eat cheese straws or popcorn when there is a bucket of them just sitting on the kitchen counter? Over the course of several week those calories will really add up. If you remove the temptation altogether it will make staying on track so much easier.
11. Don’t let your indulgences snowball.
Even if you wind up eating and drinking more than usual during a celebration, don’t let it become a habit for the entire season.
The actual holidays are really only three to eight individual days. Eating unhealthy foods on the holidays alone won’t cause too much damage, especially if you stay active. But if you expand those specific days into six weeks of nonstop eating and drinking, there’s a good chance you’ll also expand your waistline.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up about indulging in your favorite goodies. Enjoying and treating yourself is part of what the holidays are all about. You get to start fresh every day. Mess up one day, no big deal. Move on and make healthier choices the next.
If you need some extra help getting through the holidays without gaining any extra weight we can help! The Connexus Holiday Weight Maintain Program is an easy, all natural way to enjoy all of your favorite holiday treats guilt free. You can avoid that Holiday 5lb weight gain by simply eating less. But let’s be honest, that can be hard to do when we are surrounded by delicious, savory, holiday treats. By taking Connexus ProTrim and DIUCAPS you can naturally control both food intake and also help curb sugar and carbohydrate cravings. The best part, these supplements are all natural! No prescription appetite suppressants or anything that has harmful side effects. Now you can relax and enjoy yourself during the holidays without feeling the guilt of gaining weight that you will have to work off come January. Give us a call at 251-300-8724 or visit our Facebook or Instragam page for more information on ordering our Holiday Weight Maintain Kit.