How many of you ate numerous portions during your Thanksgiving or Hanukkah meals and swore that it would be the last time you were going to eat that much? Well, guess what? You just lied to yourself again.
The holidays have arrived and along with the joyful season comes all those wonderful parties you have been invited to, the delicious foods, tasty drinks, and the 5-10 lbs. you’re about to gain. Ladies, don’t you want to fit into that beautiful dress you were thinking of buying for New Year’s Eve? The one that is sure to have multiple heads turning your way? Guys, don’t you want to look great and feel confident when you approach these beautiful women at a holiday party?
Don’t worry, I have 10 tips on how to prevent the dreaded holiday weight gain and keep your confidence! It’s not about giving up all the delicious food and desserts that the holidays are bringing your way; in order to maintain your figure or enjoy weight loss, you just need to eat smart!
Tip #1 Have a Healthy Snack
Before you even go to a holiday party, have a healthy snack. A handful of walnuts with two glasses of water are a great and easy example. Other things you can have include fruit with yogurt or fresh veggies with hummus. If you don’t have time to snack when you get to the party, drink two glasses of regular or sparkling water before going anywhere near food!
Tip #2 Outsmart the Buffet
Small portions are key. If you are going to a buffet party, take the smallest plate and come back for more later. After the third time or even second time, you will be too embarrassed to keep coming back for more! Stick to fruits, vegetables, cocktail shrimp, etc. Also, don’t hover over the buffet table or near the kitchen pretending to chat while you’re staring down that 2,000 calorie dessert you are about to snatch when no one is looking. Instead spend your time socializing and engaging in conversations. Get to know people, dance, and network!
Tip #3 Low-calorie drinks
So, you want to drink. Did you know that one cocktail has anywhere from 150-750 calories? One 1 and 1/2 oz. of pure spirit has 90 calories before any juices or syrups are mixed in it. Drink two or three of these mixed cocktails and you have reached your daily calorie load for the day. Stick to wine, as a 5 oz. glass of wine only has 90-100 calories. If you don’t like wine or there are no skinny girl martinis, stick to pure spirits mixed with flavored seltzer. You can also carry your favorite sweetener like Stevia or Splenda in your purse and let the bartender mix the sweetener with your drink instead of sugar or syrup when making a low calorie drinks like a mojito.
Tip #4: Share your Desserts/Healthy Desserts
Ahhhh, desserts… who doesn’t like desserts? Take a dessert buddy with you before approaching the dessert table. Each of you take one dessert and share it. After that, the next several days are your “No Dessert” days. If you have a sweet tooth and you must have some form of dessert, either have your favorite fruit or you can try one of my low calorie favorite desserts – Greek yogurt with a little bit of honey and walnuts. Speaking of walnuts, they provide a great source of antioxidants to prevent cancer and other diseases, not to mention a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease.
Tip #5 Condiment Caution
Avoid sauces made from cream or meat sauces, as they are loaded with calories!!! Whatever you do, don’t drown your food with these sauces. For salads, use oil and vinegar, vinaigrette or low-fat dressings.
Tip #6: Healthy Fats
Substitute good fats for bad fats. Replace things like butter, animal fats, fried foods, etc. for mono or polyunsaturated fats like fish, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, or avocados. Try spreading avocados instead of mayo on a sandwich. Use olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil. Have walnuts and raisins instead of chips or candy for a yummy snack.
Tip # 7: Emotional Eating
The holidays can be a tough time for some of us. If you are eating excessively when your are not actually hungry, take a note of whether you are feeling lonely, sad, angry, or stressed out. Instead of stuffing your feelings with food, call up a friend and go see a movie, work out, or go do something else you enjoy.
Tip #8 Eat More Veggies
As much as we hated them as kids, we eventually learn the benefits of vegetables. They provide us with many nutrients and fiber. Ideal portion for any meal should be 1/2 plate full of veggie, 1/4 carb, 1/4 lean protein. Also, try to eat your vegetables before your carbs to feel fuller faster, which decreases the amount of carbs you digest. Lastly, try to eat your carbs earlier in the day and eat more veggies at your holiday parties so you have time to burn them off carbs and less chance your body will store them as fat.
Tip # 9 More H2O
Drink more water throughout the day and during your holiday party. Not only does it help curb your appetite, but it keeps your skin looking great. To figure out how many ozs of water you should have on average for any given day: take 1/2 your weight in lbs. For example, if you weight 120 lbs, you should have about 60 ozs of water/day
Tip # 10 Just Say NO!
Of course people like your Aunt Sally, who love to cook and feed you any chance she gets, will keep putting food in front of you and insist that you eat more. However, you are an adult and here is your chance to exercise some will power. Remember that one hour workout you had earlier today and how you don’t want it to go to waste! Just say “No, thank you. Everything was delicious. I couldn’t eat another bite!”
It’s not hard to avoid holiday weight gain as long as you have a good strategy in place!
Look out for our physician guided weight loss programs being launched January 2014!
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About the Author:Dr. Sunanda Chugh is the Founder and Medical Director of Anand Medical Spa and has been practicing in NYC since 2004. She is a graduate of Cornell University and has completed her training at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital/Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Chugh has worked and trained with top Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists in NYC. Her special interest on the effect of the aging process on the face and body inspired her to specialize in Aesthetic Medicine.