It’s that time of year again – a time when we stuff ourselves at family holiday gatherings and graze through the goodies at the office carry-in during the workday. Many people will add to their waistlines between Thanksgiving and the New Year because of all of the temptations, but there are some easy tips to keep in mind to help you avoid unwanted and unhealthy weight gain.
Ruthanne Hilbrich, nutrition services coordinator of the Clarian Bariatric Center in Indianapolis, IN and a registered dietitian, and Annessa Chumbley, a registered dietitian at the Clarian Bariatric Center, offer the following healthy tips to help you throughout the holidays:
1. Focus on the family. The holidays don’t have to be about food. Food can be creative, nutritious, and wonderful, but choose to focus on people instead. Holidays are a time to reunite with good friends and family.
2. Get the skinny on the menu. What kind of food will be served? When you know in advance, you can take control and plan ahead.
3. Lead the pack and bring a dish or dessert that you can eat as well as one that everyone would also enjoy. Prove to people that great tasting holiday food doesn’t have to be prepared with a stick of butter and a cup of sour cream.
4. Disaster relief. If you do have a bite of that pecan pie, don’t throw your day out the window and eat the rest of the pie. Forgive yourself and move on.
5. Stay away. If food is the only thing you’re looking forward to at the party, you probably should not go.
6. Out of sight, out of mind. Once you have your plate of holiday food, don’t stand around the table of offerings. If you do, you will be tempted to graze. Get your plate of food and take that with you while you socialize.
7. Create new traditions. Instead of sitting around the TV after dinner, get bundled up and go caroling. Or take a brisk walk around the block. Play a game where you and your group decide which neighbor has the best outdoor holiday décor. Or instead of watching football, get outside and play your own ball game. Make it a tradition to break out the sled or play a family game of basketball after that Thanksgiving or Christmas lunch. Children will love you for it, and it will become a sweet holiday memory they’ll never forget.
8. Keep positively busy. Instead of sampling every dish and dessert brought to the party, make a positive goal to get to know other party guests. Be a good listener. You feel better about yourself when you uplift others. No food can give you that kind of good feeling.
9. Drink in hand. If you choose to eat before you go, keep a non-alcoholic beverage in hand to sip on — a practical way to set yourself up to succeed.
10. No fear. You have the power to take control of how your holiday season goes. Do not plan on starting a new diet on January 1. That will set you up to gorge the whole month of December because you’ll tell yourself that you’ll eat nothing in January. This is a self-destructive mentality. Relax and enjoy the holiday season. You deserve it.