RoastTurkeyThe holidays are coming up and often that means challenges for those of us that are trying to eat healthy and exercise.  We start with Thanksgiving, which is known as the holiday when we all eat too much.  How many of you feel stuffed liked the turkey by the end of the day?  There is so much delicious food and we don’t want to let it go to waste.  We may want to eat a little of everything, so the person that made it doesn’t feel bad or we may think this is the only time I get turkey or sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie, so I can’t pass it up.

Some ways to prevent gaining weight on Thanksgiving include:

  • Don’t skip breakfast.  I know it seems like a good idea to save the calories for the big meal, but you don’t want to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner on an empty stomach.  The hungrier you are, the more you will eat.  Eat something likes eggs for breakfast.  The protein will keep you satisfied longer and will get your metabolism started, so you will start burning calories.
  • Drink plenty of water before and during dinner.  It will help fill you up without any calories and you’ll eat less.
  • Eat your meal slowly.  If you eat slowly, your body will have a chance to digest your food, so you will know when you are getting full and stop before you are stuffed and uncomfortable.  Plus, if you eat too quickly and clean up your plate, others will be anxious to re-fill it for you and you will eat it just to be polite.
  • Take a walk.  After you are done eating, don’t plop down on the couch to watch TV.  Take a walk to work off the calories you just ate.

Once we make it past Thanksgiving dinner, we have leftover pie and other goodies that we don’t want to go to waste.  We also have holiday parties, treats delivered to the office, Christmas cookies, and dinners at restaurants or fast food places when you are out Christmas shopping.

As far as the leftovers from Thanksgiving, send some home with family members, so you don’t feel like you have to eat it all.  At holiday parties, remember not to show up starving.  If you are hungry you will eat more and are more likely to eat the sweets and other less than healthy foods.  These types of foods don’t satisfy your hunger and you end up eating more than you should.  Drink water before you go to a party and hold a bottle of water while at the party to keep your hands busy, so you don’t eat as much.  Also, don’t hang out by the food table.

At work be sure to bring healthy snacks so you are less tempted by all the sweets that co-workers or vendors bring in.

When you are out doing holiday shopping, you will get hungry.  Plan ahead and bring healthy snacks to eat in between meals.  Drink plenty of water.  Yes, I know I say this a lot.  Drinking more water will do wonders for making you feel better.  Did you know that sometimes we think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty? When you have to eat out, opt for healthy options.  Avoid fast food, fried food, desserts, bread or rolls, and pop (AKA soda).  Don’t feel like you have to clean up your plate.  You can always take some food home.

Finally, don’t forget to exercise during the holidays.  I know it’s a busy time of year, but you can’t use that as an excuse.  I find that the more I exercise, the more likely I am to eat better.  When you go shopping, park farther from the entrance, so you are forced to walk more.  Make several runs to the car to drop off packages.  Use the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.  Take walks on your lunch breaks or do just 10 minutes of strength training in the morning or at night.  I’ll talk more about strength training in a future post.

You can get through the holidays without gaining weight.  You just have to plan ahead.

Happy Holidays!