Eating Over The Holidays (Updated)

(The following was originally posted several websites and countless newsletters ago. Nine years ago to be exact. Little needed to be changed. The basics have always been the same.)

As we approach the end of the year and the holidays, most of us fall into two categories. Either we have been working out or are planning to start working out in January. The food and parties around the holidays could be viewed as a challenge or an opportunity to get a head start on January resolutions.

Research tells us that the average person gains between one and five pounds over the holidays, less that was reported a decade ago. Research also shows that the weight gained over the holidays tends to stay with us throughout the year. That is not a good plan.

Here are 5 easy recommendations for holiday eating:

1. We have some flexible time in our schedule during the holidays. Put that extra time to good use and work out a little, or a little bit more – be more active than usual and burn some extra calories. The easiest way to do this is to go for a walk – and ask someone to join you.

2. Rather than the negative experience of denying yourself certain foods (unless you need to for medical reasons) practice “portion control.” A smaller piece of Grandma’s pie tastes great and we feel good about our self-discipline. Often, I notice that others will follow my lead and request smaller portions which makes me feel great and further strengthens my resolve.

3. Don’t skip meals during the day to make room for the big meal. Arriving at the holiday dinner with a ravenous appetite is a recipe for over-eating, and usually eating too much of the wrong foods. The starvation/binge eating also causes other reactions in the body that work against you in your attempts to control your weight.

4. Remember to drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. Sometimes hunger is actually a sign of slight dehydration.

5. Be careful about alcohol, not necessarily because of the high caloric value, but because it can weaken your resolve to exercise “portion control” with your food.