For most of us, the silly season means parties, office functions, lunches, family gatherings and vacations. All that fun (and the stress it brings with it), can lead to weight gain. Some reports suggest as much as 10 pounds between Halloween and Valentine’s Day on average!
Here are some survival tactics to get you through the holidays in great shape!
Another party to attend? Before you’re sabotaged by platters of yummy stuff, try these:
1. Eat a healthy snack at home. That way you don’t arrive ravenous ready to eat anything that’s offered.
2. Head for the vegetarian platters – they tend to be healthier. Vegetable crudites minus the dips, crackers and sandwiches are good choices. Avoid pastries and anything that looks fried.
3. Keep the alcohol to a minimum. If you have to, try a spritzer – half white wine, half Seltzer (or soda water depending on your country of origin). Alcohol tends to make us let down our guard and lose all willpower!
You’re not going to change grandma’s half century of cooking habits, so you’ll have to learn to convert your serving into a healthy meal.
1. Remove the skin from the turkey and forego the gravy – if it’s still succulent, at least you can honestly compliment the chef!
2. Watch out for butter and cream-based sauces – stick to the plain, unadorned vegetables.
3. A little bit of desserts okay – just don’t go overboard! Skip the chocolate sauce on the ice cream, and avoid the cream on the pumpkin pie.
4. Again, watch the alcohol. Do you know that a glass of eggnog packs about 300 calories?
Going on Vacation?
How you travel and where you stay can make it difficult – so try these:
1. If you’re flying, order a vegetarian or low-fat in-flight meal. Check when you make the booking though – some airlines like special diet requests pre-arranged.
2. Pack a cooler with nutritious snacks to sustain the family on a long drive. Yogurt, fruit, raw nuts, vegetables and crackers will keep you all going for hours.
3. Hotels are not ideal for dieters! At breakfast, stick to fruit, cereals and proteins – not the waffles, fried food and pastries.
4. Drink a glass of water before you start your meal – you’ll feel fuller and less likely to eat huge portions.
5. Order grilled fish, skinless chicken and vegetarian meals in restaurants. Tomato-based pasta sauces are a better alternative than the cream-based ones. Choose a baked potato without the sour cream or butter over fries, and get your salad with the dressing on the side.
6. Pack your own snacks as often as you can – to the beach, the park, the scenic drive. It’ll stop you filling up on ice cream and soda at the nearest vendor.
Yes, holidays are a time to rest – from your normal routine, not all physical activity! You should not become a couch potato for three weeks. And if you’re on holiday with family, what better way to spend time together than getting active!
1. Walk to the local sights. Whether you’re going to a restaurant, the local amusement park, the beach or a museum – walk there.
2. Play! You’re on holiday, so have fun. Whether it’s frisbee, tag, or ball, get up and do it.
3. Hike through the forest instead of driving round it – you’ll see a lot more on foot.
4. Cycle around the town you’re visiting. It’s a great way to sightsee, and much easier to find parking spaces.
Enjoy it! Holidays are not a form of torture to be merely endured. It’s difficult enough getting through this time of year – so don’t be too hard on yourself if you ‘slip up’ and have a sundae or pizza. Just do a little better tomorrow! Plan ahead when you can, make smart choices, and you’ll survive the holidays with your hips and waistline intact!