Managing weight during the holiday season can be tough. There is no shortage of food, family, friends, and let’s face it, alcohol. Making healthful choices is more difficult during the holidays, which is why I’ve put together several holiday survival guides to help you navigate everything from Halloween to New Year’s to Valentine’s Day. But let’s face it, sometimes you just want to splurge on a holiday, and what you really need is a post-holiday or in-between-holiday survival guide!
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’ve decided to put together this weight loss guide for you. Whether or not you wait until the holidays are over to give this new eating plan a shot, you can use the following tips as a guide to maintain a healthy weight and diet in between all the traveling, family gatherings, and parties coming your way. With these tips you’ll navigate the holiday season wisely without compromising on the fun or flavor!
- Avoid or reduce alcohol intake by 25% – Alcohol contains a fair amount of calories, and when you add sodas or sugary mixers to your liquor, one or two drinks can easily pack more calories than your lunch or dinner. In addition, alcohol decreases your willpower and can lead to hangovers, both which tend to induce cravings for fried, greasy, high calorie foods.
- Drink lots of water – Often we confuse dehydration with hunger, so make sure you are drinking plenty of water. When you think you might be hungry, try drinking water and wait 20 minutes before grabbing that snack you’ve been eyeing. And replace soda, juices or sports drinks with water, it’s the best hydrater.
- Eat breakfast – Even if you’re not hungry in the morning, make a point to eat something at least within an hour and a half of waking. Jumpstart your metabolism out of starvation mode and get your fat burning machinery back on track.
- Fill up on fiber – Most Americans don’t eat enough fiber (women need at least 25g/day and men 38g/day). Fiber is filling and slows down digestion, keeping you full longer. Fiber packed meals and snacks also won’t cause blood sugar spikes, which suppresses sugar cravings later.
- Avoid added sugars (including ‘natural sugars’ like honey, agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar, dates, dried fruits, etc) – Sugar is sugar, and adding sugar to your meals and snacks only adds calories. Beware of hidden sugars in pre-packaged foods and reduce how much sugar you add yourself.
- Load up on veggies, especially leafy green ones – This is an easy way to not only get a diverse amount of nutrients, but to also fill up on a large quantity of food without consuming too many calories
- Drink herbal or decaf tea, coffee, or espresso after meals – Some herbal teas, especially those with ginger, may help with digestion and it gives you something to do with your hands instead of eating more dessert. In addition, the hot drink will fill you up even more, leaving little room for more food.
- Replace meat with other protein rich foods such as beans, lentils, or soy foods at least once a day, if you aren’t already a vegetarian – Replacing meat with foods like beans or lentils decreases your saturated fat intake, increases fiber intake, and will likely decrease your overall calorie intake.
- Always be prepared for a busy or unpredictable day by keeping healthy snacks on you, at your desk, in your car, etc. This way you never let yourself get too hungry, possibly causing overeating or making poor choices. Some ideas include almonds or other unsalted nuts, fruit, health warrior bars, or protein bars.