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The holiday season is upon us, and for most of us that means food, parties, and more food. For those among us who are trying to lose weight and stay healthy, the holidays can also mean diet disaster. Fortunately, recognizing you’re up against a challenge is half the battle. Read these tips and follow them to the best of your ability, and you’ll be well armed to fight against the holiday bloat.
1) Don’t crash diet before the holidays! A lot of people think “Well, if I just lose five pounds before the holidays, I can indulge all I want and still break even on January 2.” Problem is, crash dieting the week before party season will just slow your metabolism and make you even more likely to gain a few pounds.
2) Remember liquid calories. There is likely to be plenty of wine, beer, eggnog, and other spirits at these parties. It’s fine to kick back and enjoy a drink, if that’s your thing, but remember that each drink you consume can potentially equal hundreds of calories.
3) Speaking of drinks, remember your water. Water is calorie-free, and keeps your digestion running smoothly. It also helps you to feel full. Before hitting the buffet, chug a glass or two of water and wait about twenty minutes.
4) Don’t mistake “healthy” versions of treats for “calorie free” versions (there is no such thing). That low-sugar cheesecake or low-fat macaroni and cheese still has calories. Making a “lower calorie” version of a treat is not license to eat three times as much of it.
5) Don’t forget your whole grains. Refined (white) flour often plays a starring role in holiday dishes. Remember that processed carbs make you crave even more processed carbs, while whole wheat is filling and keeps you on the healthy eaters bandwagon.
6) Remember why you graze. Some people graze in order to have something to do, or because they feel nervous at parties. Be aware of whether you’re really hungry, or just eating nervously. Try to stay away from the buffet and find an activity that will hold your attention.
7) Indulge a little. You only live once, and one slice of Grandma’s famous pie is not going to completely undo your diet efforts. Sometimes it is better to give in on small things than drive yourself crazy with deprivation! Just add a little time to your workout the next day and you should be fine.