Another holiday season is upon us, and with it, enough calorie-packed temptations to fill a buffet. You might think that a snowman-shaped cookie here and a turkey feast there can’t have that much of an impact on your weight.
Some refer to the time between Halloween and New Year’s Day as “national eating season” because you’ll consume an average of 440 more calories per serving over the next couple of months.
That statistic might make you want to postpone losing weight until you make next year’s resolutions, but we don’t think you should throw in the towel just yet.
Dr. Michael Skardasis and our team at Optimal Performance Medicine know how difficult it can be to find a balance between your desire to delight in the holiday fun and your desire to achieve your weight-loss goals.
That’s why we’re taking this month to focus our nutrition counseling on the unique challenges of the season. Here’s our best advice on how to navigate the holidays when you’re trying to lose weight.
You’ll undoubtedly be invited to multiple holiday parties and family gatherings over the coming weeks. While you can expect to enjoy your time with loved ones, you can’t always predict what kind of food will be available once you get there.
If you’re not sure what types of temptations are waiting for you, eat a filling, nutritious meal before the event. Heading into a party with a satisfied appetite helps you resist any less-than-nutritious options.
Another strategy is to get in touch with the host of the party beforehand and ask if you can bring a healthy dish to share with the group — your diet and friends will thank you.
Whether you’re at a party or a well-meaning coworker ambushes you with a tray of treats, having a variety of diet-friendly snacks on hand can help you stay on track and make better choices in the face of temptation.
Opt for snacks that are high in protein to satisfy your appetite even longer.
Increase your physical activity
When winter rolls around, do you feel like hibernating on your couch instead of breaking a sweat? The chill in the air and the built-in vacation days can make working out fall to the bottom of your to-do list.
But sloughing off exercise during national eating season, even if you’re making smart diet choices, can derail any progress you’ve made.
Any amount of exercise can go a long way. For example, burning just 1,000 calories through physical activity during the week can help you lose or avoid gaining 2.9 pounds.
Enjoying a day off with your family? Find a way to make exercise fun and get the whole gang involved. Working over the holidays? Bring a pair of sneakers to the office and lace up for a brisk walk over your lunch hour.
Talk to Dr. Skardasis about other exercise programs he recommends.
The moment you arrive at a holiday party, you’ll be tempted to indulge in all sorts of tasty foods and drinks.
Every alcoholic drink sneaks in tons of unnecessary calories. It’s best to enjoy alcohol and sugary drinks like soda in moderation or avoid them altogether. In fact, you’re better off heading straight for the cooler filled with water.
When loading up on food, consider grabbing a napkin instead of a plate to maintain portion control. Do all of your mingling and socializing as far away from the snacks as you can to avoid hours of mindless grazing.
Find a support system
Even under normal circumstances, losing weight can be an uphill battle. That’s why it’s especially important to find a solid support system during the holidays.
Fortunately, you don’t have to look far to find it. Dr. Skardasis is a trained health coach who specializes in guiding and motivating you through your entire weight-loss journey.
Along with developing a nutrition and exercise program that’s right for you, he also provides the educational and emotional support you need to achieve your goals.
So let it snow, let yourself enjoy the season, and let us help you stay on track.
For weight-loss support that lasts long after the holiday season, call our Woodstock, Georgia office at 678-224-5406 or schedule an appointment online today.