Looking forward to the “holidays?” We know they can be stressful but here are a few ideas to help enjoy them to the fullest.
Americans associate social events and celebrations with food. As a result, this can be a difficult time of year for people who want to maintain a program of weight loss, as well as those who practice healthy eating habits. Each year as we enter the holiday season, although we have good intentions the temptations of enticing food and spirits are too much for us to deny. Nonetheless, it is possible to combine healthful eating with holiday celebrating—all it takes is some planning. The American Dietetic Association has suggestions that will help in achieving your goals.
It’s psychological. If you can consider some of the food with which you are to be confronted, you can refuse or eat small amounts of high-fat foods, while eating larger amounts of low-fat foods. Eating moderate amounts of all foods is the key to a healthful diet. Don’t overdo the “healthy eating” so that you feel deprived, or the result may be binge eating. If there is something you just can’t resist, take a small amount. Keep in mind that most people aren’t interested in listening to talk about dieting or health problems.
Exercise in advance and you won’t be as hungry, plus you’ll use up excess calories. If you can’t fulfill your usual exercise time, any amount you can manage will help. If you arrive at home tired, a little exercise can rejuvenate you.
Don’t skip breakfast. Beginning the day with food speeds up your metabolism; the result is burning more calories. Conversely, if you don’t eat at the beginning of the day, your body’s metabolism slows down.
Avoid fatigue. It reduces self-control, so you won’t be as likely to choose the right foods. Try to get enough sleep. If not, relaxing for a bit helps, as does deep breathing, reading or whatever is pleasurable for you.
Don’t go to a party hungry. Have a low-cal snack before you leave; it takes the edge off of your appetite. Fruit, salad, and soup are all good choices. At a party have a low-calorie beverage in your hand, even ice water. Drinking water with a meal is filling.
Try talking to someone interesting at a party—you won’t eat if there is stimulating conversation. Move yourself out of easy reach of the food.
Avoid overdrinking. Besides containing empty calories, alcohol reduces your inhibitions concerning food. If you overdo, don’t fret; tomorrow is another day. Soda with lime or lemon, or red wine are good choices.
The following are some good substitutions for baking: use any of these replacements for the oil: equal amounts of applesauce, ripe mashed bananas, or non-fat yogurt. If you want to cut down on saturated fat, use egg substitute instead of eggs (2 ounces substitute for each egg), skim milk, fat-free whipped cream substitutes or whipped skim milk, fat free sour cream or cream cheese. These alternatives work well, and result in the same delicious taste. I have successfully tried all of them.
If you are cautious and think while you are eating, you can enter the New Year without guilt, regrets, or making the inevitable resolution to lose weight. You will already have a good start.