What's the harm of one more cookie or another glass of eggnog? As much as we look forward to holiday office parties and department celebrations, many of us end up packing on the pounds because we indulge a little too much.
The average American gains 1-2 pounds over the six-week holiday season. While this might not seem like a lot, those unwanted pounds don’t tend to come off. This additional weight adds up over the years and can lead to weight and health issues in the future.
With a little planning and vigilance, you can maintain your normal weight without sacrificing all the fun of the holidays. Here are a few tips to remember:
- Bring something healthy. Check the sign-up sheet for your holiday office potluck. Volunteer to bring a healthy dish, giving you at least one good option to enjoy. Once you’re there, survey the buffet table before you grab a plate and be sure to take small portions, since it’s easy to fill up your plate to the brim. It’s okay to have a little bit of everything, so you don’t feel deprived.
- Don’t go hungry. If your holiday party is during lunch, eat a large healthy breakfast to keep you from overeating. If the party is after work, enjoy a protein-packed lunch like grilled fish or chicken with a salad and then a high-fiber snack later in the afternoon. If you arrive feeling full instead of famished, it will be easier to avoid snacking and overeating.
- Avoid temptation. Keep healthy snacks that you love at your desk for when you do get the munchies. A bowl full of chocolate kisses will be harder to resist when it’s right there next to you. Your co-workers will thank you too.
- Buddy up and share. When around desserts, use the buddy system. Split your dessert and share with a friend. You will cut the calories in half but still be able to indulge a bit!
- Just add water. If alcohol is being served, make sure you have a glass of water in between drinks. This will help reduce your thirst while filling your stomach and you’ll consume less food and fewer calories. Holiday cocktails tend to have more added sugar than usual, so limit your intake and opt for beverages with soda water or a slice of lime.
- Don't waste calories. Instead of squandering calories on rolls or mashed potatoes, go for once-a-year treats like your coworker’s infamous cinnamon rolls. If a gingerbread cookie is less tasty than it looked, toss it after the first bite.
- Exercise and de-stress. Stress is notoriously linked to weight gain due to heightened cortisol levels and the added temptation to snag a comforting snack. Exercise is a great stress-reducer, so squeeze in 10-minute walks or follow these at-work workouts.
The holidays are a time for sharing tasty food and entertaining with friends and family, but with a little bit of self-control, you can enjoy holiday eating without packing on any extra weight. Ultimately, you are in control of your own weight destiny and that’s something to celebrate too.
Practicing healthy habits through the holiday season can encourage you as you move into the New Year and builds on a healthy lifestyle that lasts year-round. This year, let’s all raise a glass to our good health!
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