It's coming! Family, friends, cake, booze, cookies, chocolates, candy canes. A happy time of the year where we often get caught up in the festivities and overindulge. When January 1st hits we realize the mistakes we made and the pounds we put on, and resolve to lose the winter weight we so happily put on. Here are a couple tips on staying lean this holiday season.
Eat a balanced meal: protein + carbs + veggies. Offer to help the chef out to make sure some veggies will be served along side the gravy and the turkey and the potatoes. If you want seconds, by all means go for it! Just make sure that you are getting seconds of everything and not just the sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows - include the salad, and the protein. The protein will help to get you to that satisfied feeling, and the veggies are full of fibre to also aid in this process.
Don't skip a meal. Regular meal times help to keep your metabolism chugging along all day instead of stopping and starting 8 hours later for a mega meal.
Equal the coffee and alcohol intake to the same amount of water. That means for every one cup of coffee you have, have a cup of water as well. Also, these types of liquids, as well as hot chocolates etc., are packed with sugar and empty calories - quick and easy ways for us to put on the pounds - so help to quench your thirst with water. Water will help to ensure your body has the ability to flush out any overindulgences, as well as keep your brain and muscles hydrated. Waking up the next morning and not feeling like a train ran you over? Priceless.
Get up and move. The weather outside might be frightful, but your body has the same needs it has at every other time of the year. With health campaigns proclaiming that "Sitting is the new Smoking", we have to try extra hard to keep active. This doesn't mean that I expect you to go outside and run a marathon! But bundling up and walking around the block for 20-30 min, twice a day can have such a profound and positive effect on your health. If we spend extra time eating this winter, then we have to balance that out by spending extra time being active. Build a snow man, walk the dog, chase the kids, snowshoe... put on the gear and go.
Start the day with a glass of warm water & some lemon juice. Simple way to improve your bowel movements. This will cause your gall bladder to squeeze out bile and lead to a bowel movement. Great way to get stuff out of you and detox. Indirectly it helps your body function better to keep dealing with the stress of high sugar foods.
Limit the sweets with the below tips:
Equal them out with veggies. Similar to the coffee/water point above, for each serving of sweets have a serving of vegetables. This is good for a couple reasons: antioxidants in the veggies can combat any detrimental effects of the treat; fibre in the veggies will decrease the speed of sugar released into the blood stream and reduce insulin spikes; and if you aren't hungry enough to eat the vegetables, then you probably don't need to eat the sweets either.
When baking, try halving the sugar. You'd be surprised how many delicious recipes turn out fantastic with this simple trick (like this one!)
Distance yourself. If all else fails, have a serving of sweets and then walk away if you are having trouble stopping. I personally don't like to stock tempting things in the house because I have trouble stopping.
Substitution. Sweet craving but want to stay strong? I love eating pitted dates. They are really sweet, so one or two easily hit the spot and then you're done.