By Andrea M. Pampaloni, Ph.D.
We are in the middle of the holiday eating season, and most people gain weight in the 10 days after Christmas.
We are in the right in the middle of the holiday eating season. Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are behind us, and Christmas, Kwanza and New Year’s are on the horizon. In fact, the weight-gaining season actually started in October, but most people gain weight in the 10 days after Christmas. But you don’t have to be most people!
In addition to the frequency of holidays, it seems like everyone has a special recipe they want share, and nine out of 10 times it’s a dessert! We know from experience that depriving ourselves of something we want often backfires, and we end up eating more of something we probably don’t even really want. Instead, it makes more sense to have a plan that will allow you to enjoy being in the company of others and their once-a-year treats without feeling guilt.
Check the Calendar and Plan Healthy Food Options
Take a look at your calendar now to see what you have coming up. Will you be attending a neighborhood gathering or an office party? Do you need to make three dozen cupcakes for a school function? Whatever it is, put a reminder on your calendar several days before the event to make sure that when you go food shopping, you choose healthy options to balance your diet on the days you will be at a social event.
Here are some tips to help get your through tempting situations:
- Plan your meals more carefully on the days when you have an event. Eat healthy, lower-fat meals for breakfast and lunch if you’re going out to dinner.
- If you want a treat, don’t deprive yourself, but don’t go overboard either. Choose something special that you will enjoy and take a moment to really appreciate it in an intentional way.
- If you know you will be going out of Saturday night, plan a walk for Saturday (and maybe Sunday!) afternoon.
- Drink more water before going out, and alternate alcoholic beverages with water when you get to where you are going. This will help to suppress your appetite and counter the effects of the booze.
- Find a friend you haven’t seen in a while (or make a new friend!) and take advantage of the time to catch up. Stand away from the food so that you don’t mindlessly graze without thinking or enjoying it.
Enjoying Holiday Treats in Moderation is Key
The holidays should be a joyful time when families and friends get together to share time and create memories. Food can be a special part of many people’s traditions, and enjoying different treats in moderation is part of that. This may not be a week — or month — when you lose weight, but with planning and a little more focus on what you’re eating, a goal of preventing weight gain is both reasonable and achievable.
About the Author: Dr. Andrea Pampaloni has over 20 years of communication experience across corporate, academic, nonprofit and government sectors. She provides research and writing services on a range of business issues and industry-specific topics to prepare white papers, articles, proposals, presentations, technical content, and speaking points, as well as marketing-communications content such as blogs, website content, newsletters, news releases and award submissions. Dr. Pampaloni’s research findings have been presented at national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals, and she is a ghostwriter for three books, a Forbes article, and several corporate blogs.