10 Tips to Get You Through the Holidays Without Loosening Your Belt from Samantha Lynch, MS, RD, CDN
Many of the claims about holiday weight gain are just as inflated as Santa’s belly. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that people of normal weight gain one pound over the holidays, and people who are overweight or obese gain 7-10 pounds. However, this news isn’t all merry. The study also reports that most people never shed the weight they gain, and gaining a pound season after season adds up.
With 2013 right around the corner, many set their New Year's resolutions as a time to start their weight loss or healthy eating programs, and treat holidays as one last hurrah and pack on more pounds...making their resolutions only more challenging to achieve. But it doesn't have to be this way.
We've called on Samantha Lynch MS, RD, CDN, founder of Samantha Lynch Nutrition, a private nutrition counseling practice in Manhattan and former Co-Director of Nutrition at Reebok Sports Club/NY, who has advised everyone from top leaders in the fields of business, entertainment and professional sports to students and stay-at-home moms to help them achieve their wellness goals.
With these tips from Samantha, you can ENJOY the holiday season without the guilt or expanding your waistline.
- Speaking of loosening your belt…Don’t do it! Not even an inch to grow. Wear that dress or shirt that is more fitted and you will be less inclined to overindulge for fear your stomach will be hanging out. Also, it is a constant reminder to be more mindful while navigating through the holiday parties.
- Speaking of parties, NEVER arrive to a holiday party on an empty stomach. Having a snack (200 calories) containing fiber, fat and protein, will take the edge of your hunger allowing you to make healthy choices. My favorite is a GG Cracker and Friendship 1% Whipped Cottage Cheese.
- Alcohol can lower inhibitions, increase your daily total calorie intake, and lead to a painful hangover that will affect your next day workout. I can’t think of anything worse than struggling through a workout when I am hungover. So, book your workout on GoRecess for first thing in the morning and knowing you have to get up will more likely keep your drinking in check. If you choose to have a drink, alternate every alcoholic drink with water or club soda to save calories over the evening. I suggest a glass of Prosecco (4oz is 85cal) or vodka, club soda, with a splash of cranberry juice (1oz vodka and cranberry juice is 84cal).
- Alcohol gets metabolized as a carbohydrate so stick to lean protein and vegetables for your dinner when drinking alcohol. Over the course of the month, this will save you a lot of extra calories.
- Ditch the purse and bring a clutch. Holding something in your hands makes it harder to overdo it on hors d'oeuvres and at the buffet table.
- Be a social butterfly. You get invited to parties for your charming personality, not your ability to clean the buffet. Situate yourself away from the spread to avoid temptation, and be so wrapped up in your conversation that you barely notice the hors d'oeuvres being passed around. This holiday season focus on adding friends instead of pounds.
- Practice the three-bite rule. Have that bite of cake, but not the entire slice. If you look forward to that decadent piece of chocolate cake all year long, take a small slice and use the three-bite rule. Studies show that people always rate the first and last bites as the best. Three bites give you a first, middle and last, which is all you need to appreciate a dessert completely. You will feel satisfied without wreaking havoc on your waistline.
- Remember: No one got ever got fat off of one brownie, or slice of pie. If you overindulge one night, don't let it set the precedent for the rest of the holiday season. Get on track the next day, and your scale will not increase.
- Carve out time everyday for yourself. What better way to workout stress and burn calories than with a workout. So continue to book your fitness classes on GoRecess and put your workouts in your calendar like you would for a meeting, and work your day around your “me” time.
- Be realistic with your goals. I suggest December may be a time of weight maintenance. You have enough stress on your plate this time of year. So focus on maintaining that current number or size, and plunge forward come January.