The holiday bulge doesn’t do anyone any good. You don’t like it because it affects self-image and esteem (plus, who wants to buy a wardrobe in the next larger size?). Your body certainly doesn’t like it since that middle bulge is that one that puts you at the highest risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Every pound your gain over your recommended BMI is a threat to your well-being. Plus, aren’t you tired of making “lose weight” one of your New Year’s Resolutions? You’re best off trying not to gain extra pounds in the first place.
Tips For Beating the Holiday Bulge
With these tips for beating the holiday bulge, you can save that resolutions slot for something more exciting than dieting.
- Don’t skip meals before the big meals. How often have you said, “I’m skipping breakfast (or lunch) so I can stuff myself at the holiday table…”? That’s not a good idea. First off, nobody feels very good when they stuff themselves. Instead, use your pre-feast eating times to consume foods that are high in fiber and lean protein. This will help you to feel less ravenous when you sit down to the table with your family, allowing you to enjoy all your favorites in moderation.
- Eat and drink mindfully. This one tip can make all the difference in the amount of calories you consume year round. Our fast-paced culture has affected the way we eat. People eat in a rushed and hurried fashion, even when they have nothing to do but sit and enjoy their food. That leads to the shoveling in of copious extra calories. This year, try to eat mindfully. While you don’t have to sit in a meditative silence at the holiday table (though in some households, that might be a wise idea….) place a mindful emphasis on how you eat. Sip drinks slowly, chew with intention, revel in the flavors of your favorite foods, and pause in between bites. If you do this, not only will you enjoy the meal to its fullest, but you also give your body a chance to recognize and signal when it’s full.
- Scale back the portions. American portion sizes are out of control. While sitting around the Thanksgiving table, stick to just a slice or two of turkey rather than a pile, use a dollop of gravy rather than a bath, use a smaller serving spoon to dish out the mashed potatoes and stuffing. Give yourself larger helpings of the healthier foods on the table, like peas, carrots, Brussels sprouts or salad. Limit yourself to a single roll or slice of bread.
- Limit your alcohol intake. It’s easy to consume more alcohol than normal when you’re sitting around all day with friends and family, no work tomorrow and the host’s full bar is laden with fun cocktails and fine wines. However, all those carbs add up. Instead, set your limits ahead of time, finish a drink completely before refilling it so you can keep track of actual glasses, and drink water, soda water with lime/lemon or other zero-calorie, non-alcoholic drinks to pace out calorie consumption and hydrate you in between.
- Take walks every day. Taking a brisk walk is such an effective way to burn calories. In fact, a 160 pound person can burn about 91 calories per mile by walking 2 miles per hour. The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn. Interestingly, walking at a brisk pace burns almost as many calories as running. Another benefit of those post-meal walks? Your body uses sugar available in your blood before it starts taking it from other parts of your body. What a great way to balance blood sugar levels without making your pancreas work harder. The added bonus is that the sugar you burn won’t show up as fat on your tummy, thighs, or hips later on.
The staff here at Overlake wish you and your family and wonderful and gratitude-rich Thanksgiving!