How many pounds will you gain during the holidays this year? We all want the answer to be zero but the truth lies somewhere in the range of 1-5 pounds. Studies suggest that those who are already overweight tend to gain on the higher end of that range. However, even if you fall into the 1-2 pound range, the accumulation of 1-2 pounds each year can lead to a significant weight gain over several years. While this is really depressing I will admit, how do you keep it from happening and become the envy of all of your friends? There are several strategies that I'm sure you've heard a million times like don't eat at the party and limit alcohol consumption. That's no fun though! Instead try something new this year.
First, what if you committed to eating a fantastic diet full of fruits and vegetables at home. Clean out your refrigerator and pantry and fill it will really good health-promoting food. Don't let the junk enter your house even for the kids (I just heard my kids sighing). Most of us can't resist the temptation. If someone gives you an edible present, thank them graciously and then take it to work to share with others. If you are going to buy candy for stockings, wait until right before the holiday and then maybe only buy a fraction of what you would normally buy.
Second, give yourself the licence to eat a little something bad at the party or family gathering. This is when you will be the envy of your friends and family. Instead of giving up and saying "what difference does it make, it's the holidays", decide to fill your plate with the absolute healthiest options available. Once you have eaten that, go back and indulge in a small guilty pleasure. Maybe you love mashed potatoes or desserts are your thing. Have them in a smaller quantity. Pick one thing and enjoy every bite! Chances are you will be full from the first course so you may not even eat the whole portion of your guilty pleasure. When you sit down with a giant plate of vegetables or salad you will get some looks and maybe some teasing but I can guarantee you that you will feel better the next day and they will be sitting beside you feeling guilty and envious that you have the fortitude to eat in a way that is good to your body. They might think you are depriving yourself but by giving yourself the permission to eat one small portion of something unhealthy they will be wrong!
Third, offer to bring something that is healthy but you enjoy. I have so many food allergies that I often ask to bring something so that my host doesn't feel obligated to accommodate me. This strategy can work with trying to maintain you weight as well. If you bring something that you know will be good for you then you can guarantee you will not blow it at the gathering (and you score some brownie points for helpfulness with the host)!
Lastly, if you try to be good and don't succeed, don't write the whole day or week off! Use the next meal as a chance to get back on track. Just because breakfast was a bust doesn't mean you can't have a healthy lunch and dinner. That kind of thinking will go a long way towards avoiding that holiday weight gain.
In January when you are looking and most importantly feeling great you will most definitely be the envy of all of your friends and family. Give this gift to yourself this holiday season!