By John A. Ruibal, Prowers Medical Center Dietitian
The holidays can be a challenging time to maintain your healthy eating habits or a tough time to start changing if you are ready. The average American will put on 2 to 4 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years’ Day. While 2 to 4 pounds may not seem like much, many people can’t shed those pounds from year to year, and ten years down the road that 2 pounds turns into 20, and 4 pounds into 40.
The good news is you can take a few steps to avoid that weight gain during the holidays and get a jumpstart on a healthier New Year. Here’s how:
- Keep tabs on your beverage choices. Choose lower calorie options and always start meals with water. When you attend holiday parties, alternate calorie drinks with water.
- Avoid going hungry to a celebration. Fill up on some healthy snacks before you attend so that you make healthier choices and eat less once you arrive.
- Fill up on lower calorie options when you arrive, then go back and eat the heavy foods in smaller portions.
- If hosting a party, use small plates. It is human nature to fill our plates as well as empty our plates. Smaller plates equal fewer calories.
- Make sure to get your workout done in the morning. You will not only feel better about getting it in but you won’t have to feel guilty about missing your workout to attend a holiday celebration.
- Offer to bring a dish to the parties you are invited to. You can control what goes into the recipes and eat guilt-free while sticking to your food plan.
- Hold your spouses or significant others’ hand while attending parties. It makes it a little harder to eat and drink with one hand.
- If you have big family celebrations planned, bank some calories by choosing lower calorie and healthier options the week prior to the big celebration.
- When shopping for your big celebration, park in the furthest parking spot from the store entrance.
- Take a family walk or find a turkey trot fun run that the family can enjoy prior to the big meal. Burn a few calories and feel less guilty! If you’re in Lamar Colorado, Willow Creek Park is a great area to get a mile of walking in prior to the big celebration.
By making a few small changes, you can set yourself up for a promising New Year and a healthier way of living. This can be the year that you buck the trend, maintain your weight during the holidays, and reverse the trend of any bad habits you may have. This is the year to make the changes. No looking back; habits are formed through small changes, and before you know it, healthy living is your new normal.