Tuesday, December 08, 2009
is officially that time of the year... after a rather extended autumn
and a lovely mild November with record-breaking LACK of snow in the
Toronto area, tonight we are expecting our first winter storm. Well, we
knew it had to happen at some point, right? And hey, it might just help
us start feeling the spirit of the holidays, right?
from snowmen, and busy malls, and twinkling lights, and gift giving,
this time of year is also famous for something else: Weight gain. Now,
reports of the average weight
at this time of year do tend to be a little exaggerated... it's often
said we average between 7 and 15 pounds gained throughout December. In
reality, the average person only gains a pound or two. However, that
pound tends to be permanent and difficult to shed. AND, those who are
already overweight tend to gain more, closer to those old "averages" of
7 to 15 pounds. The thing that really smarts is, only one week after
Christmas we have New Years Eve, that night when we all want to look
our best, most glowing version of ourselves, and that one week isn't
really enough to get things back under control to fit into that little
So, without further ado, here we have my Top 10 Tips
to help you minimize the damage that can happen, while still allowing you to enjoy the indulgences of the holiday season:
Happy Celebrating Everyone!
- Aim to maintain.
Consider purposely building a plateau into your weight release plan.
The break from strict monitoring can give you a boost both mentally and
physically when you get back to it in the new year.
- Always eat breakfast...
and while we're at it, lunch too. Don't "save" your calories for that
party later on. That's a sure way to set yourself up to lose all
control when those plates of Christmas cookies, fudge, and other
goodies are lined up on the dessert table before you, AND it's a sure
way to set your body up to hold onto every calorie of those morsels you
indulge in. Just eat a balanced diet throughout the day, and go the
party with your appetite in check.
- Be prepared when you hit the malls.
You're going to get tired, thirsty, and unless you have the patience of
Saint Nick himself, you're going to get annoyed. And if you're hungry
on top of that, I fear for those people who wander aimlessly in front
of you causing you angst. Bring some healthy snacks - a little baggie
of almonds and goji berries or raisins, an apple and a piece of cheese
(if you eat dairy), or if you'll be gone on a shopping spree, bring a
tuna sandwich on whole grain bread. And for heaven's sake, don't forget
- Go easy on between meal snacking and sweets...
if you must nosh, load up on veggies with a bit of healthy fat dip or
dressing. If you do have some "treats", balance them out with a small
handful of nuts or some lean protein to help minimize the impact on
your blood sugar and keep you from crashing and cravings.
- DO continue your workouts. It
will help keep your energy up, help you sleep well, reduce your stress
levels, and contribute to burning off some of those extra calories you
may be consuming. Just do it!
- Don't burn the candle at both ends.
Get your rest, delegate, prioritize. Consider making your holiday get
togethers a little less elaborate... make them warm and welcoming and
don't strive for "perfection." Plan ahead and organize shopping lists
and timelines... a bit of advanced planning saves a lot of stress.
Consider hiring out some help such as a caterer or house cleaning
service to take the pressure off. In a word: De-stress!
- At parties, be mindful of alcohol.
No one says you can't enjoy a glass or two of something... but pace
yourself! You know that if you go overboard, not only will you pay for
it the next day, but it will weaken your will and you will likely
overdo it on the food as well. Have a glass of water (sparkling if you
like) in between bevvies. And try to avoid creamy liqueurs, they're
packed with fat and sugar. Stick with a glass or two of wine, light
beer, or maybe some gin & tonic or vodka and cranberry.
- Don't deprive yourself, but be picky about your indulgences. Make your choices "worth it", and be reasonable with portions. Practice what Darya Pino calls "rational indulgence." That is, enjoy things that you have reason to enjoy in quantities that leave you satisfied - don't abandon your health or get too obsessive. Remember, you will have the chance to eat another cupcake, you dont have to have 3 of them today!
will tell you not to take seconds... but I think that leads to
overdoing it on the firsts and maybe on foods that looked better than
they tasted. Take a little bit of whatever you like, but only a little... a taste test. Then you can go for seconds of only those things you REALLY liked.
- Leave guilt at the door. Sure,
the holidays are about spending time with friends and family, see the
excitement on the kids' faces as they see what Santa brought them, and
about extending good will to all mankind. But come on. Let's be honest
here. They're also about cookies and cakes and stuffing and piping warm
bread and chocolates and candy canes and... need I go on? Food is a big
part of our celebrations at this time of year. It's nothing to be
ashamed of, or feel guilty for, to partake in this part of the
holidays. Do it consciously, do it with some restraint, but for
heaven's sake, whatever you choose to do, ENJOY IT. Even if you do put
on a couple of pounds, if you didn't at least enjoy it, it really is a
complete waste for your waist!