5 Ways to Keep off the Holiday Pounds This Year

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The holidays are upon us! The chill of the holiday season is in the air, and what seems like troughs of food will soon be laid before us at holiday family gatherings, office parties and events, housewarming engagements and cookie decorating with the kids.

It’s a recipe for disaster when it comes to trying to maintain your weight.

You try to be good, but then you find you can’t pass up on the cookie there, a cup of eggnog there, and before you know it you’re doing the dance of the Sugar Plump Fairy

*cue celesta music accompanied by the tuba*

You and I both know that you’re going to be coming up against some pretty rough situations here, so I want to let you know you’re not alone, and you are strong and you can make it through this - with a couple tips from my experience.

1. Keep up with your exercise/activity level

I know, it’s cold and dark outside. You’re stressed and in a time crunch because of the holidays. That doesn’t mean you get an excuse to not take care of yourself.

It’s important to ensure you keep being active. Maybe that’s not necessarily the gym or running two miles outside everyday, but exercise will help with fighting seasonal affective disorder, maintaining muscle mass, and feeling better.

One thing I’ve started doing is being active - in the spirit of the season. In my case it means getting a cup of coffee and walking around outside - maybe viewing the Christmas lights and store displays. You can walk around the neighborhood to see your neighbors’ holiday light displays, go for a hike to see the stars, do some skiiing or snowshoeing, or even play some sports in the snow or on an ice rink (skating and hockey are an excellent way to stay fit!)

2. Be choosy at potlucks and parties

Just because something is there doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I mean, you may be tempted to eat it, but don’t feel that just because it’s there, you have to have it.

My personal nemesis is peanut brittle. I know it’s bad for you, but I’m always tempted to eat it when I see it at a holiday party. And if I eat a little bit of it, I know that I’m going to keep coming back to the plate!

Instead, I make sure to fill up my plate with good stuff - veggies, cheese, charcuterie - so I don’t leave room or temptation for the other stuff.

3. Send leftovers home with other people

If you have a holiday party or meal, don’t feel obligated to wrap and store the food for later. If you have a lot of leftovers that you don’t want to keep (and eat) send them home with people. Have a lot of cookies and candy that you don’t want to eat? Make up little gift bags that you can tuck into the hands of your guests. It’s better if it’s out of the house and out of your hands.

4. Skip the holiday-flavored drinks at Starbucks

This may make me sound like a bit of a grinch, but the holiday-flavored drinks are always a trap. They sound like a good idea at the time, and are certainly enticing but they have a ton of sugar in them. If you’re sipping an eggnog latte at work or drinking a gingerbread latte every morning, you’re going to see those calories and all that sugar add up.

I’ll get maybe one or two during the holiday season. Or, if you’re looking to cut back on the calories and still get a sweet fix, opt for the sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup at Starbucks.

5. Drink in moderation

With the holidays come cocktail parties, company and office parties, hot toddies and eggnog and buttered rum. While I believe that the holidays are about enjoying the holiday and not necessarily refraining from everything, drinking can add up a lot of calories very quickly.

I recommend enjoying a glass of something - wine or a mixed cocktail usually being the lower-carb option - and not drinking in excess. Not to mention that you’ll feel a lot better if you’re not having a holiday hangover.

I hope that helps you to make better choices this holiday season! You can enjoy the holidays and enjoy it with other people without consuming needlessly and mindlessly. Happy holidays!